Clearing His Throat
Hed been gone almost a year when I saw
my sister again at Thanksgiving.
As we caught up over coffee she said,
The way you coughed just then sounded like Dad.
Mine was a common allergic reaction
that Id carried since childhood, bundled
with its matching sneeze. His was a quarrel
hed begun with his Luckies when they first
came to loggerheads at the age of fourteen.
But how fitting that two peoplewho
for fifty years spoke languages wholly
foreign to each other, down to each sputtered
syllable and their rising, colliding
intonationsshould finally come to share
at most this rasping, meaningless gesture.
And how comforting he should speak through me
with no more than this harmless ahem,
this courteous request for attention.
Table of Contents | Return to Poem Directory