“His Father’s Keeper”

"His Father's Keeper" Art— J.R. Lether, Father—Alan White, Son—Brock White
His Father’s Keeper
Art— J.R. Lether, Father—Alan White, Son—Brock White

He had been there.

After the game, the war, after the track meet,

before breakfast on Saturday mornings…and

when diapers had to be changed and the girl’s

curls and ribbons had to be rearranged.


The car easing into the driveway splattered pebbles

against the house at 4 AM when he entered silently

and warmed the dinner Mother had left for him.


At the ball games and the graduations, and the

PTA meetings he had to leave early to get to his

second job. Or was it his third?


He had been there.


When the grand babies came, they nestled into
his chest like it was home.

And it was.


And when the phone rang at 3:45 in the morning

and his daughter was crying on the other end, he

dressed in the dark and went to her.


He was there.


When his boy flew back from foreign shores on

crutches, with a nervous bride, he welcomed them.

Hugged them both.


At his daughter’s swearing-in, and when she cried
at her youngest son’s induction, he held her.
Then him.


And now, when he stumbles sometimes…and forgets

which story he’s telling, and dozes during lunch,

then sleeps well into the afternoon, his baby boy,

the one he used to throw into the air, who giggled,

screamed uncontrollably, then begged for more…


the one who was grounded for breaking EVERY rule,

and ran away three or four times that crazy

summer––is there.


For him.

Josclynne Grier

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