Dear Dad

Thirty years after your death
I bring a silver thermos of Manhattans
to Holy Sepulchre Cemetery on Dewey Ave.
Thirsty grass leans in a stiff breeze
off the lake. Marble markers
line up like bar stools.
In the hush of a summer afternoon
I toast your legacy: you savored

the joy of words, and the exhilarating ways                          
a stream of humor gurgled over ordinary stones.
Because of you, I imagine the world
as a succulent maraschino cherry
ripe with possibilities. Dad, you showed me
all of that shimmering energy.
I raise a glass to your light.
I touch my pen to the page.

The summer you died I found your wallet in your top drawer.
Driver’s license, insurance, your secret recipe for window cleaner—
my pink and white Lady Bartender business card
with the slogan we agreed on: I Mix Well.

Paterson Literary Review
From a manuscript-in-process, Goddess of Swizzle