It was my parents’ anniversary.
Fifty-one years ago
they exchanged vows;
Two anniversaries now
without daddy here to count them.

I meant to ask my mom
what does the count
feel like without him.
But it sounds in my head
a little too morose even for me.
Even though, to help me understand,
she’d probably
try to
find the words to say her grief.
Hoping I’m sure that naming it
could somehow put her in control of it.

It’s the poet in me
that is willing
eager even, to sit with a pain
pulling it apart to know it.

Protecting myself
I get rational
logical, my dad would say
reflecting on all the times
when my breath catches
as though he was newly gone from me.

Counting occasions
as the blessings I had
each one signifies, in its turn
my dad’s not here anymore;

Mine are enough anniversaries
to wade through missing him.
For their wedding, I’ll leave it
to my imagination.

©2009 by Shari Lynne Smothers

About Shari Smothers

Welcome to Telling Stories, my creative writing space. My name is Shari Smothers. Poems help me to understand the world and to explain my world to others. They're my premier story telling tools. There's more to come, so please share with me through reading, commenting, emailing. Learn more about Shari here. And do come again!

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