Walking with My Father

Walking with My Father
By Linda Hogan

In the dark evening, my father and I
walk down the road to the old house
where my grandmother lived,
and we see through the door an old woman’s feet
lifted up, tired, on a footstool,
still in her thick stockings,
the feet with legs and stockings
looking just like Grandma’s
after bearing nine children who lived,
standing, working all day,
the kind of woman who made stacks of toast, platters of eggs
for all of us each hot morning,
did laundry, then lunch,
supper, and worked with the animals
or cleaning fish
the rest of the day.

I want to go open that door as I did
so many times in the past, remembering
not to slam the screen, as everyone would yell
although I am now also older and finite,
the seams of myself coming apart.

How I wish I could go to that woman
with her legs up and rub her feet,
put liniment on her legs.

Years have passed through the doors
of that house, of memory, doors of the past
and my father’s eyes
are sad, looking in,
his own memories, not mine,
thinking maybe of his mother
and some of his old belongings,
the stolen Colt of his own father,
the bracelet he gave me with his R.A. number.

Her memories are unremembered,
as my grandfather’s,
as those before them,
I think of what this poem is about,
only partly about memory,
our many losses.
And walking with my father
I walk with my grandparents,
among the first to be numbered:
#1556,
#1555.

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2 Comments

  1. There is little one can say about this fine poem except thanks to the author for making the reader more appreciative of comparable people and events in one’s own life.

  2. Linda Hogan gathers up her human experiences in a finely tuned memory of longing and belonging.

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