Poets’ Corner: Rosemerry for Father’s Day

Poets’ Corner: Rosemerry for Father’s Day

Father’s Day. What does it actually mean? Mother’s Day has clear, well-defined expectations: flowers, brunch, more flowers, maybe some chocolate. But dads’ day?

The third Sunday of June is all about celebrating the many ways fathers and father figures make a positive difference in the lives of their offspring – although some are saints; some Santini; some both depending on the day.

Or, as in Word Woman Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer‘s singular case, he is simply the man with a plan. The man she loved beyond – and within – words.

Honor thy father?

Rosemerry’s gift-wrapped, tear-stained bouquet of tributes to a man she loves deeply – yes still – certainly do.

Rosemerry & Dad.

There Is Only the Field

On the day my father begins hospice,
I watch the pronghorn in the field,
marvel as their brown- and white-striped bodies
nearly disappear in the dead grass where
they graze. If only I could camouflage
my father so death can’t find him, so that pain
would never have discovered him.
Tomorrow, my mother and brother and I
will gather around him the way a herd
might gather, circling him as some antelope
circle their young. But death will come.
And we, unable to run fast enough,
unable to hide, will meet it together.
And if I could fight death, would I? Whatever horns
I have are more for ritual than dangerous.
When death arrives, I want to bring
my softest self. I won’t bargain,
but I’ll tell death it’s taking the best of us—
the one who worked hardest to survive.
When death arrives, I want to ask it, Please,
be gentle. He suffered so much already.
I want to tell death, You don’t get all of him.
I carry in me his goodness, his courage.
While I live, he will always be alive in this field.


Staring at My Father’s Chair

He isn’t in it, his chair,
the big brown one
that tilts forward
and reclines, but
the slip covers
on the arm rests
remember his hands—
they are worn
to a lighter shade
of brown. I imagine,
my own hands
could be a lighter shade
from all the times
he held them,
his thick fingers wrapped
around mine, his thumb
worrying a small circle
in my palm. May
I, too, be marked
by his touch—
may my palms
be threadbare.
reshaped by his love.


Packing My Parents’ Home

Into the boxes I slip
my father’s birth certificate,
his high school yearbooks,
his wedding album,
and the diploma for his PhD.
I fold waders and coats,
pack saws and hammers,
wires and electrical things
I can’t name—but he can.
I pack journals filled with notes
of his favorite trips,
crossbow arrows
and feathers for tying flies.
But a life doesn’t fit in boxes.
No way to pack his glittering eyes,
his quick smile, the way he laughs
in recognition as I hold up
an old favorite knife.
No way to pack the hard years,
the wrestling with pain,
his drive to show up anyway,
day after day,
determined to bring his best
to the world, determined
to love life outside
the box.

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