Contemplating Father

Written by: Darrel Smith

Your face is vague, but,
I remember the smell of your hands,
the smell of tobacco, beer, and sweat.
For us to talk it must
be before noon or the beer
(so strong on your breath)
would turn you from savant to idiot.

The wars of life had made you solemn;
Korea, Vietnam, dark dreams
and bad health,
you paid high for that strange wisdom.
And you were so hard to reach,
like those wise men that they say
sit on mountains.

Your mountain was alcohol.
Just Enough beer
and you might say great things,
to little, you were sullen and quiet,
to much, you were boisterous and insane.

Just days before you died 
in heavily gestured  speech 
your hand brushed my face 
as you spoke passionately
of revelations like they were today’s 

You spoke with certainty… of reality,
but all I remember is the smell
of your hand,
the smell of tobacco, beer, and sweat.