Sons of My Father

Sons of My Father
and other tales
by Mari Pack

When did boys’ legs
begin to resemble my father’s
olive skinned and dark haired—
two long parabolas
meeting at the knotted ball of the knee
locked there
like that,
just like that.

I was six
when he taught me to meditate
cross legged like an ancient
brown Maharishi
on our salmon colored
Persian carpet,
that he and my mother bought
before I knew them.
He must have been thirty-eight,
and already the fountain of wisdom
telling me to focus on nothing
to pretend  I was Aladdin
riding a magic carpet
over sand dunes in the desert.
I remember his white ankle straps
bound from tennis games,
the sound of the Velcro rip
like a shot of tiny callous particles
and our white dog, seven years later
drawn by the ritual
to lick the salt
from my father’s legs.

My brother, Andrew,
the music maker
is nineteen. He plays the drums
without reverence
but with skill and explosive need
that same need
that drove him to abandon our mother
and become a man
somewhere out there
wherever men are made;
I have not been there yet.
Sometimes
in the white heat of high summer
he leaves our house
and the middle room
with its glossy magazine clippings
and ugly plaid chair
with the wall that kisses
my wall
and he leaves us
in the black sedan
that our parents purchased
as a gift
and he leaves
for days
and days.
He drives to the Carolinas
to walk across the sand dunes
into the salty sea
on his legs
that are also my legs.

My father at twenty-two,
how little he must have known.

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