Academic journal article The Virginia Quarterly Review

Dreaming about My Father

Academic journal article The Virginia Quarterly Review

Dreaming about My Father

Article excerpt

We're painting the old house in the Hudson Valley

and we're a team, applying the paint so smoothly

that not a drop gets spilled, it's all cream, and

for the first time he has no complaints about

the way I work. "Good job" he says and smiles

when we climb down the ladders and take a break

for a beer. He tells me again about how he loves

this place, how he loves the country, how poor

his family was, growing up in Brooklyn-how ashamed

he was that my grandmother had to take in washing

and scrubbed steps to meet the rent on their

smelly apartment on Chauncy Street-and for once

I listen to him without yawning. "Why don't we

pick some stones out of the garden?" he says,

and we do that, we take the old wheelbarrow

which doubles as a cement trough and pick

a couple of loads of stone from the rocky patch

where he grows golden bantam corn-his favorite--

and the beans, and carrots that never form straight

roots, and the tomatoes in such abundance that

I still have photos of them, my grandmother smiling

over the bushels of red fruit in front of her. …

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