A Visit With My Pop

Standing by the mailboxes

of the assisted living facility

in which he now resides

against his will, despite the

excellent care and social

interactions with people

other than his cat, who

moved with him after the

fall that spurred the fretful

drift of daughters, whose fear

for his safety is equaled only by

surprise that he’s lived so many

years after Momma died,


to move him from his home

without discussion, knowing

he’d refuse to leave if asked

and honoring your father

should exclude hog-tying and

carrying him to this place where

every need is met except the

one for independence, so all was

done on the sly, and the rooms

with his things in place look like

the home he’ll never see again,

which makes him swear like a sailor

though he knows it’s for the best,


he looks shrunken like a wool

sweater after a hot wash, half

the him he was, so tall and

handsome, and I could touch

the sky when I rode his shoulders

or see the world in the stories he told

and believe that growing was what

children did without understanding

that it doesn’t stop when you’re this

big but keeps going ‘til you’re small

again, afraid of disappearing.


He smiled at my approach and

kissed me on the cheek, but when

asked if he was happy, he snarled

and spat like his cat when there’s too

many corners and the only out is up.

© Dana Hughes 8.31.16




3 thoughts on “A Visit With My Pop

  1. What do I say? This is beautiful in an aching, rueful, inevitable sort of way. I marvel at your ability to string thoughts along the wire of grammar to make not just a sentence but an experience, and one that isn’t linear but loops back on itself to lift out meanings left imbedded in the first thing you say. You make me hurt and celebrate all at the same time.

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