After my father died, I leafed through his notebooks as a schoolboy as he was learning his trade. This poem comes from feeling him as a young learner.
SIZING HIS DREAM
(FOR MY BROTHER)
Near the end, our father gave me
these notebooks written in his hand
when he was sixteen, trying to under-
stand his trade. There are drawings and
measurements. He was sizing his dream.
I want each of us to have one, to have a
piece of him since he took so much of us
with him. I know his creative gene swims
between us, can feel it when we talk of
painters and sculptors and tireless work-
men, unaware of their greatness. He was
a great builder like you. I think you have
his vision. And I, his mother’s heart. I
want you—on a night when you miss him
deeply—to hold this pad that he held, that
he poured himself into. Know when you
hold it, that I am holding the other. Know
that together we bring him back in a flutter
of what lasts forever. Put your hand on one
of his drawings and imagine him years
before he knew our names, imagine
him leaning over this pad, learning
what to do with all he was born with.
A Question to Walk With: Hold something that belonged to someone you loved who’s no longer here. Let your hands be in conversation with something they held.