Dad Called It Tact
He only gave bad news when we were alone
in the car, driving along the mountain road I loved in fall
so when I asked, he said, I don’t know, Love. I don’t know
why, but he promised it would pass. I had no
words—it stole my breath—but in his usual
way, he gave me the news when we were alone.
It was always something worse each time we’d go
to lunch or a backyard party—or when he’d call
and I’d ask why he didn’t know. Love, I don’t know
all the details yet, but we’d put our trust in chemo-
therapy, and prayer. A year later, they hadn’t caught it all,
and when he gave the news, we were alone
in a steakhouse, for my birthday lunch—although
a few weeks late, as usual. If he was sick, I couldn’t tell,
so I asked if he felt it. No, Love. He didn’t know
when we’d meet next, that I screamed at the phone
after hanging up, if he’d still be okay that fall,
that he only gave bad news when we were alone,
or that I never asked why he didn’t know love. He didn’t know.
Poem #5 from my Poetry Portfolio, submitted today in my Creative Writing class. It's a villanelle, my first, and I cannot express how much I enjoyed working with this form. Mmm. Tasty.
My moms like that. Only gives me bad news in the car, when its just the two of us.
Interesting meter to this one, had to read it aloud a few times before I got really into the flow
it's not supposed to have any real set metre it was more supposed to just have the repeated lines. but eh, i worked my ass off on it. glad you liked it? i think
Ouch. Villanelles are fun, though I've never written one of my own.
villanelles are brilliant. i want to dabble more in this area; it's constricting in the most fascinating way.