Note: This poem remembers the last of our five children graduating from high school. It seemed I was the oldest parent there, having been 50 when she was born. I think the loud ticking of my biological clock added to the poignancy of the event for me. I'd been married once before, but all the children remained under my roof, so this marked the end of 39 years of an other than empty nest.
His daughter flipped her tassel across the brim
of the silly mortarboard,
and it seemed to him, That’s that. It made no sense,
but he heard a closing door.
People later remarked that the day could scarcely be finer:
sky an exemplary, cloudless blue.
No one would have called it hot,
although within his seersucker suit he was sopping.
He played at affirmation,
hugging her raucous friends, thanking her teachers.
Stop waiting around for magic,
he told himself, who hadn’t even known
till now that’s what he’d been doing:
waiting for something to put off the future forever,
its sorrows, which boded for all
and would make this grief look paltry. Yet she was the last
of the children left at home.
He feigned a cough to cover another sound,
felt for his clenching throat
and pulled his necktie through an open collar,
as though it were time to relax.
He chatted with another father, a doctor. It struck him
as odd that on occasion
he’d been this shockingly young man’s patient.
A flock of geese overhead
babbled, confused, having lost its tight formation.
© 2018 Sydney Lea
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