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July 2016, vol 12 no 2

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Rich Youmans

Sunday Again

We took each step, one by one, from the front door down to the porch. I was two, holding his hand as I descended in fits, jumping from step to step: My body bracing, my legs buckling, then a liftoff fueled only by my faith in his hand. My Sunday shoes landed with loud clumps.

dog-eared Polaroid       the sky an otherworldly blue

My mother must have taken that photo, just as we were going to church. The colors are faded, but in it I am still the towhead my father was at the same age, before my hair turned sandy and his turned gray. He and I sit in the courtyard, on the maplewood bench that always gets good sun. We turn each album page together, and I remind him of names – Uncle Curt and Aunt Ruth on the divan, my cousin Anne at Eddie’s second wedding. When we come to a photo of my mother, in her Aztec bathing suit on the Ocean City beach, his fingers spread out across the page so I can’t turn. When the building’s shadow overtakes us, we put down the album to take one last walk, trying to keep up with the sun.

from front porch shadows, a row of eyes      first stars

Finally we head back toward the main building, its front porch. With loud clumps, he lifts his braced shoes, ascending slowly from step to step; once his legs nearly buckle, and my heart jumps. But he keeps on, placing his faith entirely in my hand. Just the two of us, from the porch up to the front door, one by one we take each step.

twilight walk      father & son not saying the same things