Winter 1987 • Vol. IX No. 1 PoetryJanuary 1, 1987 |

Elegy for My Father, Who Is Not Dead

Because I live a careful life, becauseI don't skydive or drink too much,my father's almost sure to diebefore I do, and then I'll follow.But he is closer than I am and ready in the sureness ofhis faith. One day the phone will ringand I'll find out that he is dead.Not soon, I hope. He's in good health—some headaches and a tendency to labor till he almost faints.But he's ready to go. I knowbecause he's not afraid. He talksabout the world beyond this worldas if his reservations have been made. Though I don't want to go,I think maybe my father doesa little bit, a new desireto travel building in his cells,a restless curiosity, an itch to see fresh worlds—or older ones.He thinks that when I follow himhe'll wrap me in his arms and laugh,the way he did when I arrivedon earth. I do not think he's right. As ready as he is to go,as calm, as sure, I'm not preparedto say good-bye as cheerfullyas if he were embarking ona trip to make my later trip go well. I see myself on dec

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Andrew Hudgins teaches at Ohio State University. His most recent book is American Rendering: New and Selected Poems. In June, Simon and Schuster will publish The Joker: A Memoir and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt will publish A Clown at Midnight.

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