scratchy old black and white photo of man's shoulder

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.