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Chomolungma

The first or second session, the therapist
Will say, "Tell me about your family."
What it always seems he means
is
Tell me about your father.
Tell about the first important man
You ever knew, ever loved, ever cried for.

I'll let my doctor see the pictures
Which all unknowingly tell so much.
Family man in his middle twenties
frowning
At the second girl-child in fourteen months.
The Christmas a three-year-old got a pink
Plastic playhouse and a scowl.

If you want to see him smiling
I'll dig to the dog-eared photos at the bottom:
My father fishing, flying, diving
alone
Or with companions other than wife
And daughters. When I was about eleven,
The images stopped as though a door closed.

Shrinks don't say to patients,
"Tell me about your relationships."
They don't have to. It's all
there
In the pictures, in the serial good-byes,
In the sense of disappointment, loss and
Failure. In my father.

(for my father)

 

 

 

 

Other poems in the set:

Aconcagua
Chomolungma
Denali
Elbrus
Kilimanjaro
Kosciusko
Vinson

 

 

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