Father’s Day: It’s Complicated

My dad is gone many years, and I’m only now beginning to know him.


Looking down 10 stories
from my hotel room in Boston
to a street canyon-ed by snow,

I watch  tiny figures
hurrying against the wind,
gripping collars, heads down. 

One man is barely moving.
He’s wrapped in a gray blanket,

and his feet are slightly shuffling.

I need a smoke,
so I make my way down
to the street and the doorman
tells me it’s too cold to go out,
but he smiles as he says it. 

I huddle against the building
as the man wrapped in the stiff
gray blanket draws near
and  I hold out a cigarette;
He stops, and says, 
“I quit smoking in 1992.”

I pull a five dollar bill
out of my pocket and slip 
it into his hand–a hand
that’s brutally cold. 

We look each other in the eye and
without his permission,
I take one of his gloveless hands
between mine and begin rubbing it
between my palms,
blowing warm breath onto his cracked
skin, and when the life came back,
I warmed his other hand.

“What’s your name?”

He answers with one word.

Later that night
as the snow fell silently,
I thought of my father, 
decades gone.

His name was also Eugene,
and I don’t think

he even had the concept of
warmth, not once in his life.

Whatever he was missing
Stalked him relentlessly,
pushing his wandering soul
into the frigid nght

with nothing more than a stiff blanket
and the scapular around his neck.


Author: Virginia Wagner Galfo

These are scary times. Prepare yourself to take a stand for what is right. God damn it, just be kind!

3 thoughts on “Father’s Day: It’s Complicated”

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