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  • i am drawing my father
    i have an old photo on the computer
    transparent enough so the grid lines show through
    drew gridlines on my sketch pad
    one square at a time
    the man emerges

    i follow the flare of his nostril
    touch the bridge of his nose
    shade in the furrowed brow
    pencil strokes soft as a brush along the part in his hair

    my father
    my father

    i remember his study
    the tomahawk with bone rattles
    the wooden war club
    the long stemmed pipe
    the dried puffer fish

    i remember
    you bundled up in the stands at my 1:00 in the morning hockey games
    the year we lost 13 straight
    remember you carrying my lumpy bag of gear
    remember your hand on my shoulder
    as we walk to the car

    my father
    my father

    i never noticed how square your chin
    the lift of your eyebrow
    how full your lower lip
    the ins and outs of your hair line

    I remember
    the kites you made
    the lead you melted to make sinkers for the deep sea rigs
    the shoe polish
    silver polish
    the revolver in your sock drawer
    the rough wool of your suits

    now i comb your hair
    let fingers run along your jaw
    follow your gaze
    note the curves and whorls of your ear

    one square at a time
    the man emerges
    one square at time
    a life recalled

    in the morning
    before i brave edgy traffic and dark roads
    i stand before him
    consider the smallest shifts of line and shading
    i straighten his mouth
    narrow an eye
    let a shadow settle in the curve of his nose

    i carry him with me
    in moments of light and line
    in snatches of memory
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