Not a Father’s Son

Delbert H. Rhodes

His mind sinking his body hurting the stars stare down at him, his vision dimming. The pounding of his heart seems louder than the sounds of his breathing. As a boy, he often visited this beach, and now this would be his last. Out there, the waves swell, as stars swim back and forth in the water.

The dune upon which he lies was his favorite as a child. Snake tracks ever graced its sands and fluffy turf, but the creature was never about. The dune pushed him higher while the sky leaned closer, the clouds brushing his face. The boy loved thinking, the daydreamer he walked inside his thoughts, and the adult, the curious storyteller. No matter its  influences, thinking is passionate, private. Now privacy and thinking have little to offer him, as he openly lives his final moments. Odd: that a man could blindly perish in plain sight. Years ago, his great-great grandmother met with death here.

This man has experienced many things, yet one thing would never be his. You see, at the age of fourteen the boy asked of his father, everything a curiosity. “He stopped coming to see you when you were four years old,” his mother’s eyes looking at yesterday. His aging ears replayed her voice, and now the words swim with his mind. “Strange,” he quietly says, “to live and die without a father’s love. ‘I am not a father’s son.’”

 A chilly night, and the trees hush the winds, crickets blow whistles, as ancestral arms embrace the lost man. Like a loving mother, the night keeps vigil, she watches him. Slowly, the feelings in his legs lessen, and coldness blankets him. “Del, bring me a wash cloth.” He remembers how seeing his naked mother always embarrassed him. Strange how the mind works, the taste of Bazooka Bubble gum slides around his tongue, a smile seduces his cheeks.

His breathing suffers; he feels trapped. He has no children, he has only death; the connective links of mind and body deteriorating, somehow, the man reaches into his pocket. The carcass of an old reptile lies near him, its body cold and his body cooling. Death is romantically ironic, unwittingly; the viper and the man finally meet. Darkness closes his eyes, and soon, a paper flies away from his hand. During an early morning run, a man finds the body and within a few yards, a paper in the sands:

Father’s Day

 Where is my dad
Oh hear me say
Who do I call
On Father’s Day 

To the skies I look
(And) God sits there
To Him I cry
To me a stare 

Oh, daddy, daddy
Where are you
In a world of colors
My color is blue 

On that last day,
I close my eyes
Fatherless I have lived
My father dies

Copyright © 2007-2014 Delbert H. Rhodes
 
 

“The Purest Forms”: Sweeter than the wildest honey

The Hill of the Angels

By Delbert H. Rhodes

 

 

The Old Man

 

The old man lies dying. Thinking of the distant hill, he recounts his youth and romance. Many times, he ventured there the skies awash in blue pearl, and below the crest the valley spread in rows of fields and speckling here and there with farms. To the north and east rest his properties. His family has owned the lands for generations.

The old man’s great, great grandmother nicknamed the farm “Blue Mists”; she loved the ghostly appeal of the floating sheets of dew beneath the starry blue skies. The mystery of the trees added a spectral quality to the night seeming as spirits languishing in the gloom.

Observing the trees always filled the old man with wonder; the winds disturbing them ever so slightly; the rustle of leaves filling the skies like the melodies of an orchestra fills a room. The trees in this region are healthy strong and sturdy. Here, generations of farming have produced lands and lives of abundance. The view is spectacular taking the breath away.

Aging has poisoned his health lessened his breath and reduced his strength yet the old man’s mind is young and clear. Facing his final moments, he misses his walks to the hill. For you see, it was there they met it was there they first loved. Then as she is now, the woman was a heavenly vision and sweeter than the wildest honey.

Staring into his wife’s eyes, the old man recites “The Purest Forms,” a poem he wrote for her:

   The Purest Forms

 And there, she is upon the hill
Into the skies she stares
The breath of day kissing her lips
The sunshine in her hair

 Tireless are her wanderlusts

 Oh agonizing joys
Till twilight breaks
A sweet bird calls
Her ears its favorite toys

 Inside the mists she ghostly spirits
So filled with life and jest
From her heart a lullaby
Mommy’s children rest

Ever the times of lasting love

 Never to leave her smile
Alas, she winks
Then playfully laughs
Becoming the happy child

In those years, my life so tender
The moments thrill my soul
Her spirit resounding chorally
The church bells ring with gold

Torrential downpours threaten the skies
Raindrops pepper with pollen
Serene the sounds of her baby’s cries
The purest forms of “Malin”

 

Tenderly, and for the last time, the old man and his wife embrace. Eternally smiling, he sweetly says, “I love you.”

Copyright © 2012 Delbert H. Rhodes