Shoulder Me

In the lobby, after the show,
“Dad,” you said, and touched his shoulder.
That was all I heard, or needed to.

I sat here once, your fingers said.
I saw the world you showed me.
The view was what it was—

a bay, a bridge, a vacation
or two. Perhaps a parade
or a just-reached leaf.

What mattered was the ride
up, the steering ears
the dab of Brylcreem, hint of Prell

the “Duck your head, Honey.”
the “Gettin’ too big.”
the “OK, rides over!” moans.

But there was a time; there was a time.
Before your hair climbed above the snow line.
Before your gait rusted.

Before doctors said things like
“We’ll have to go in. The sooner the better.”
There was a time we faced forward forever.

I like the way you touched your father’s shoulder.
Like he loaned it to you, years ago.
And you were placing it back, just so.

“Dad,” your fingers whispered—
Climb aboard. Your turn now.
Best seat in the joint

when the house-lights dim
              when the dark scroll rises
                            when I play violin.



John Jay Speredakos is a New York-based professional actor and writer with an MFA from Rutgers’ Mason Gross School of the Arts. He has appeared on and off-Broadway, in films, TV, and radio dramas for the last few decades, and is a devoted daddy to his daughter, Calliope. More information and photos can be found on IMDb.




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