Few Words for Father by Tina Barry

Few Words for Father

We recognize our father,
even with his edges blurred,
and the baritone that once curled

around our names, lost
in the hush
of the hospital’s language.

The doctor tells us he’s comfortable,
and promises to phone
when things change. And they do.

By morning, he is gone.
Because we’ve had so little
of our father to share,

we speak of him in a kind
of shorthand.
I pour coffee, and we begin:

Brut, my sister says,
recalling his cologne.
Parfait, pretty girls,

the pool, I say,
where he played with us.


Tina Barry is the author of Beautiful Raft and Mall Flower. Her writing appeared in ONE ART: a journal of poetry, Rattle, Verse Daily, A-Minor, Nixes Mate, The Best Small Fictions 2020 (spotlighted story) and 2016, Trampset, Gyroscope Review and elsewhere. Tina teaches at The Poetry Barn and Writers.com.

One thought on “Few Words for Father by Tina Barry

  1. Strong feelings are conveyed in terse statements, instance the last line. Likes 3 to 5 do their dawning me deeper into the poem.

Leave a Reply