Dad said
he who eats crackers in bed
has a crummy nights sleep

I smiled as I slid down into
ritz dusted sheets and
realized Dad was right.

Dad said
the hills were alive
with the sound of music

I asked him if he could rewind
to the puppet show part
just one more time
where high on the hill
there’s a lonely goatherd
lay ee odl lay ee odl lay hee hoo.

Dad said
every day is a good day
some days are just better than others

I realized that Dad has been trying
to have good days ever since
Zig Zigler told him not to kick the cat
and his subliminal rainforest sounds
relaxation tapes told him to let go of stress
as I piped up from the back seat
asking him to play the leaky
radiator song again.

Dad said
he would never be
the cats in the cradle and the silver spoon
little boy blue and the man in the moon
when you coming home dad I don’t know when
but we’ll get together then
I know we’ll have a good time then

I saw no cats by the cradle
when he showed up to my gymnastic meet
in time to watch me do
my best beam routine
as my feet flipped
into a stuck landing and he took me out
for Italian afterwards to celebrate.

Dad said
quite seriously
he who sits in jelly doughnut
has ass in jam
as he stoically looked up from
reading his fortune cookie and
I saw the crinkle in the corner of his eye

I reckon that a lifetime of reading
fortune cookies and loving jelly
doughnuts has forever been
colored by that crinkle.

Dad said
take me home
country roads
to the place I belong
West Virginia
mountain momma
take me home country roads

I never understood why Dad
loved this song so much until
I learned what it meant
to yearn for something
you didn’t even know
you had lost.

Dad said
if you build it
they will come

I realized in the building
we all cast our wishes
into our fields of dreams
having faith at some point
we too shall hit a home run.

Dad said
I love

I thought of
playing under the bleachers at softball games
when dad tied a red piece of yarn in my hair
that just wouldn’t hold
my messy locks

The paper mache volcano
3rd grade science project
which just would not dry in time
no matter how much
we used a blow dryer
so Dad made a new volcano
out of foil, spray paint
and a garbage can

The letter of wisdom
I received for my 16th birthday
telling me life can be
both good and hard
and it is up to us
to choose what we make of it

Walking almost 200 blocks
through New York City
because Dad was convinced
he’d never make it
back out of the subway
and why would you waste your time
looking down underground anyways
when there are so many
glorious sights to see
up top

The man on the
other end of the phone
who still buys me lunch and snow tires
and comes to my aid when
a broke down car on
the side of the road
forces me to pause and
take a rest stop
from what can sometimes feel like
this beautiful broke down thing called life

And so I said:
I love
you too.