As I listen to Otis Redding on the harbor, boats named after people float around;
Boats named by fishermen who think just a little too much.
They come out everyday like Hemingway Jrs; the old men and their sea.
December does not feel right here: It’s not the same without a Chicago winter,
But this harbor’s got my father on my mind.
He used to run numbers for a local casino & now he writes numbers in a sudoku box on Sundays.
The days of wild adventure on the streets of Germany are what he sees when he looks at his beer mugs.
and when he’s had a little Heineken, Marlboro, and a spin of his record player,
I know that no one else should be in the room.
He shows his thoughts in photos: His winters spent coming back home to feed his family,
Keeping warm in a house with one heater, snow, noses blown in hankies, Uncle Frankie,
Harry playing jazz in the living room, and walking to school in the cold.
But there are no photos of him - and there wouldn’t be -
When he snuck away to the harbor with his friends.
We tend not to talk about them anymore, but he still remembers where they lived.
And sometimes, I catch a glimpse of him - with his Heineken and his Marlboro and his music -
I catch him as he smiles in hiding while his eyes confide in a light I do not see,
And when I do,
I know that my father is still on that harbor.