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Before soft comfortable velcro secured shoes
I remember my Dad’s brown wingtip leather-sole shoes tied with dark cords and buffed brilliantly with Kiwi shoe polish. I thought of my Dad and how i once watched him polish those shoes, as i wrote this today.

Happy Fathers Day Dad

The sole of my father
Shoe leather worn on linoleum floors
Pacing, waiting, praying
It’s a girl, it’s a boy…he’s a Dad
Vitalis Wildroot Brylcreem
flat top pomade, ivy league Groom and Clean,
The smell of a man,
overwhelmed by the smell of honeysuckle
the top of her downy head
and Johnson’s Baby Powder
Gerber strained and spewed,
interpretive art on his canvas
a clean white shirt
colored now in peaches & peas
Love and tenacity
Hope and beauty
color his shirt
born from the mouth of the one
The one he would do anything
to protect, to help, to hold,
Toy boxes, dolls, fire engines red
he sleeps like an angel in a Thomas the Train bed
Balls thrown with oiled glove caught
pitches made and cheers led
His stomach wrenched with a thousand butterflies
his son toes the pitching rubber
and he wants to tell him everything
Before he throws the next pitch
How to grip the seams
How to bait a hook, shoot a buck
Hold a door yes sir yes ma’am
Thank you and please
How to talk to girls, how to live
Before he throws the next pitch
Before he get’s any older
and he falls in love, before she walks radiant
Down the aisle
Strike
A thousand butterflies freed fluttering
Wings cheering leaping dancing
Then melancholy slaps his face
And he realizes he’s no longer magic
no longer superman, the answers come
in paragraphs, maybes, keep the faith
Don’t give up, try this, uncertain, shades of gray
But he still smells like Dad
and the leather from the bottom of
those shoes, those shoes
are everywhere
along the path I’ve walked
Thanks Dad for wearing
out all those shoes
hospital waiting rooms
school principal offices
gym floors and green diamonds
church foyers and campgrounds
the places I’ve walked beside you
Are worn smooth and beautiful
And that path still carries the aroma
Of fatherhood

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