Poem for my Dad

Playing Make-Believe on a Saturday afternoon in my Dad’s Capitol Hill Duplex
Dark curtains at the window, floor length,
     Are you going to Scarborough Fair?
drawn shut like theater curtains against the afternoon sun.
     Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme,
Narrow balcony outside, with thick weathered wood railing
     Remember me to the one who lives there,
and peeling red-maroon paint.
     She once was a true love of mine.
 
Wood floor, large living room where we dance, my sister and me,
     Tell her to make me a cambric shirt,
Stereo turntable in the corner, big blond speakers with off-white mesh covers.
     Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme,
Pocket closet hidden off the living room, my dad’s shop
     Without no seams nor needlework,
soldering iron, needle nose pliers. Dad’s tools. Magic.
     Then she’ll be a true love of mine.
 
Long Saturday afternoons to fill,
     Tell her to find me an acre of land,
Simon and Garfunkle on the stereo, needle grooving the vinyl round and round,
     Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme,
their black-and-white harmony crests and falls in the speckled afternoon sunlight.
     Between the salt water and the sea strands,
My sister and I, cocoon-like, swathed in white dress-up scarves
     Then she’ll be a true love of mine.
 
Twirl and laugh, twirl and laugh
     Tell her to reap it with a sickle of leather,
My smiling dad, on the couch, looks on,
     Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme,
A folk song hero himself, perhaps
     And gather it all in a bunch of heather,
Later we make spaghetti, with Lawry’s sauce made from a packet -
     Then she’ll be a true love of mine.
The meal tastes like a sparkle, like the zest of a lost Saturday afternoon.
     Are you going to Scarborough Fair?
     Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme.

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