Dad in August


Dad doesn’t notice the Rose of Sharon that blooms papery white and sunset red outside his bedroom window.

He doesn’t look for the gray speckled robins that steal pale Thompson grapes falling between the slats of the overhead arbor he built in 1983.

Instead, he pulls a steady hand through his beard, extracting inch by inch a long hair only he can see.

He pinches it between two careful fingers and watches it hang, presumably gently blowing in an equally invisible breeze.

He stares, then squints to focus better, on what is still not there before he brushes it against a purple knee and it vanishes even from his attention.

“Do you mind that I’m falling apart?” he asks.

Mind?  That honesty cost him reason?  That simplicity cost him health?  That humanity cost him strength?

As worn flesh prepares to fall away and uncover bright, hidden, battled Spirit, I can at last begin to know him.

I only wonder whether, when God shows him His face before the end, will he look back?