for my father
I wish we could split a six of Schaffer and a pack of L&Ms,
and listen to the Knicks on the radio or Bob and Ray
or shoot pool until It's all over but the crying.
You gave me something to cry about, and I had to wait
until I had kids of my own to find out being a father
didn't come with a handbook.
For all I care, we could rearrange another rock wall
or turn over the garden.
It would be enough to be together again.
Remember the living forever you started from seed?
I divided it just like you showed me. Every year, another cutting.
Now it borders both sides of the driveway.
John Smith has published poetry in magazines such as The Literary Review, New York Quarterly, Slant, The Paterson Review, and The Journal of New Jersey Poets. For the past twenty years his poetry has been featured in New Jersey Audubon.