I’m remembering more than watching
a man, golden in videos and photographs.
It can seem he only ever existed that way.
Time blinks and now he speaks
pressing a finger to a hole in his throat.
I’d never noticed the resemblance,
my dad’s breath, Val’s breath, so heavy
rattling from that hole, which
my dad covered with a gauze flap, which
Val covers with scarves. Each time Val goofs
for the camera, a gesture or wink, it jolts—
did I forget my father’s humor? Hilarious,
even after the laryngectomy, the strokes.
I think of pain when I think of him,
his and mine. Never a real conversation.
Would he walk me down the aisle?
He died before we’d find out.
When Val smiles to himself before
seeing his adult daughter, also his neighbor—
they sort of bow on their respective stoops—
it’s so cute I could cry, and then I do, I really do.