My Father's Portrait

Frederick Dolgin

A tempered square of space with coats of dust
Risen as the rays shed through the drapes;
And my father’s achromatic face must
Express less than facial cues suggest:
Perhaps a sweet sarcastic morning crest,
A session that has passed the normal lapse
Amid some stubborn, smirking cigarettes
That simmer inside his Northwest roast;
The smoke that floats and fights the linear rays,
Some sunken photographs to readjust,
Genealogy to render lost,
Encyclopedias to finally dust.
After a midnight shift the lust for
History is evermore his habit.
At forty-six the shade of skin is coarse,
Not quite so white -- or black as was in Russia:
Still a stunted color from Cordova,
As Spanish as they come when in Moldova.

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