Shrine by M in the trees

While I was living in Raton
my father called on my birthday and sang Happy Birthday.
I was in my fifties and it was the first time in my memory
that my father had sung that or anything to me.
His voice was low, slow and grandfatherly.
Perhaps my niece who was living with him at the time
suggested he do this.
For years I thought my father had forgotten my birthday
but then I’d wonder how that could be? How could a father forget
his own child’s birthday, unless I was of such small regard
and could be forgotten, or maybe it was an aspect
of fathers in the 1950’s and 60’s.
Maybe they had no use for dates like that.
These thoughts interspersed with ones of my mother
who did not forget my special day but refused to celebrate me–
no singing or home-made cake for the one who was surely
of no account in her book.
My father is dead now, coming up to four years;
my mother has been gone longer.
I remember my father’s voice on the phone and the space
of floor where I stood and listened.

–Michelle in the Trees, 01/22/14

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