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April 2015, vol 11 no 1

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Bill Waters

My Father-in-Law's Mustache


At the age of 81, with no warning or precedent, my father-in-law grew a mustache. And although his physical and mental health were somewhat in decline at that point, he became fascinated with unusual words in his huge unabridged dictionary and wrote about them. He penned long letters to old friends. And out of nowhere he became a prolific poet.

winter dusk . . .
blue lights
on the cedar

Here was a man reinventing himself. Like a shrub that's been pruned back hard, he was pushing out impressive new growth — on paper and, perhaps symbolically, on his upper lip. And when he suddenly died about a year and a half later, he left behind a table piled with work in progress and notes about future projects . . . a fitting epilogue for a person still very much in the process of becoming.


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