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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Keys to unknown places

~Inspired by Taylor Mali's "Labeling Keys"~

Sundays he would get up
before the rest of us.
He’d go out when
everyone was sleeping
and return with a paper
(always with a paper)
and a brown bag of sweets from La Boulangerie
sweet-smelling buttery pastries
which he’d cut into sixths
with his red pocketknife.

Dad kept gold bars, wrapped in a black
Stuck them up in the attic through a hole
in his closet.
He’d pull them out and tell us, don’t tell anyone
we have these- Do you know how much
they are worth? Gold is $300 an ounce.

He didn’t trust the value of the dollar but
In Gold We Trust.

There was a box-
I think it was an old Sucrets tin-
in one of dad’s drawers.
It contained keys of different shapes
and sizes. I’d take
it out when dad was at work and
study them.
Feel the cool metal in my
and try to
guess where the locks were
and what secrets dad may have had hidden

Dad had a scar on his belly,
& sometimes I would sit on his lap
after he had taken a shower in the evening
and I’d trace my finger along
the smooth silvery line
just above his belt buckle.

“Why do you have this?”
I’d ask, (when what I’d meant was
“How did you get it?”)
And he would turn away momentarily
from the Mets game he’d been watching
with a look in his eyes that I
could not place at the time (but I now
recognize as Regret.)
And he’d say
“you don’t want to hear that story.”

End of subject.

Dad had a purple heart
and a box of keys to unknown places

And stories
That I did


copyright 2012 Omy Keyes (all rights reserved)

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