The Quiet One
Because my father was the quiet one,
A stranger might have thought he didn't care
Or even argued that he wasn't there
For what he might have said or should have done.
But I don't feel that way at all, because,
Though he, in fact, was often out of town
And scratchy when he put his suitcase down,
Those linty pockets where the candy was
Showed he was thinking of us far away,
So even if he really wasn't there,
Or listened without anything to say,
When I look up I see him everywhere,
As the stilled, assenting heart of priest or nun
Knows Him because He is the quiet One.
1999; originally printed in The Formalist.
by permission of the author.