by Charles Gramlich

Father was a book of unwritten words,

scribed on dirt and wood and stone,

inked with hoe and axe and shovel.


With his voice often lifted in prayer,

his language came from the harvest,

his spirit from rain, light, and wind.


I am another sort of tome.

Symbols both written and spoken

have been the tools of my trade.


Rain speaks only at my window,

not running down my sweated face,

not turning my soiled hands to mud.


But I recall a different tale,

cinnamon brown with summer sun,

kneeling in garden fresh turned.


Father’s overalls, work boots scarred.

My dirt-scrawled T-shirt no longer white.

Feet bare as empty pages.


In furrows straight as sentences,

we dug soft holes, black as periods,

runed small leafy sprouts along them.


And the seeds: white, yellow, orange,

drawn from a sack, rich with meaning,

like Braille in Father’s callused palm.


How artfully all were planted.

Where moisture might find them,

might read and unbind them.


Until in a thrash of green shoots,

they climbed like myths into day,

to twinkle my father’s blue eyes.

About the Author

Charles Gramlich, 64, of Abita Springs, reminisces about his father. His favorite library branch is the Covington Branch.

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