Summer Evening Remembrance

I remember my father with hose in hand

A spray of water arched expertly over new lawn

His curve of smile held me spellbound on the steps

Maybe he was happy like that at bowling alleys, too

When constant irritation at six kids and three jobs receded

His bull-neck and clenched jaw slacked in momentary relief

I didn’t know then that he was from a state called Illinois

His people weren’t farmers, just poor field hands

Just as we always were, in those Army dog years

Everywhere we moved he’d test the soil

Lift palmful of dirt to his nose for inspection

Sifting and sniffing in wordless appraisal

My father could grow green grass on any continent

New blades obediently rose to heed his command

Tonight I stand and water my new garden

Smell the dampening earth and aid seedlings take hold

My own smile of deep satisfaction comes bittersweet

For there is now so much I know

So very much too late

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