Thursday, September 22, 2016

"Eighty" by Mary Soon Lee, Frequent Contributor

Mary Soon Lee

Tomorrow he would have been eighty.
I see him driving round Europe
with a woman who is not my mother,
stopping at a restaurant

overlooking Lake Como,
bowing his head in thanks to waiters
who bring him Coca Colas,
a camera or two on the table
in front of him.

Tomorrow he would have been eighty.
He would have chased his grandchildren
round our back yard,
telling them to climb higher,
jump further;
he would have played on the floor with them
the same games he played with me,
acting the part of Spottyfellow,
the huge old ladybug
that I still have,
faded and coming apart a little,
as he would be too.

Tomorrow he would have been eighty,
still playing poker,
still betting the pot
on the right hand;
he would have left notes on my fridge
in his beautiful flowing handwriting;
he would have left messages
on my answering machine;
he would have learned
how to email me;
he would have burnt 
the eighty candles on his cake
from both ends.

Poet's Notes: This is a poem about my father, Dr. Lee Wee Chye, who died at the age of fifty-two (when I was twenty). He was far from a perfect man, but he was close to being a perfect father. I wish he had met his grandchildren.

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