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Showing my father through freedom.

He arrived for his August visit at night. I was the first to hear his old-soldier's tread ringing through the empty rooms at the unused end of that henhouse of ten rooms in a row, where the rest of us spent the summer while he stayed back doing his carpentry and odd jobs. I ran and in the dark of the fifth room reached him, a great shadowy figure, he picked me up and held me to his chest and bore me into the unsteady glare of the tenth room, where the others were. The next morning my mother and I showed my father through Freedom. We ate an ice cream in the Harmony Teashop my mother called "The Patisserie," we stopped in to hear Lettie, the postmistress, who perhaps had acquired her sweet regretfulness from palping what billets doux would pass in and out of Freedom, say, as she said nearly every day to one or another of us children, "Nothing today dear," and we visited the hut where, under the wing's of Pegasus, John pumped gas, probably no more than a dozen times a day, and when we came by always put me on his knee and talked with my mother. I went straight to him, happy that my father, seeing him lift me, would know I had a friend who was a fullgrown man and would recalculate my worth. John greeted me, but turned slightly, and when he sat down leaned far forward and put his elbows on his knees. The three of them made conversation awhile, my father doing his part with occasional rephrasings, "Yes, it has been," of the wet summer, or, "Yes, they are sudden," of the lightning storms. I lingered at the knee. Could it be my sitting on it was a secret, or their talking together while I sat on it was? Suddenly I was like a boy propped up in a hospital bed with a brain injury who can see and almost understand what he sees but is unable to speak.
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Author:Kinnell, Galway
Publication:The American Poetry Review
Date:Jan 1, 1993
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