Issue #3 // Dad // April Penn

Growing up, I read you poetry.
Dylan Thomas, your favorite.
“And you my father…”
Remember how the speaker turns
to address his father directly?

Like the speaker, I immersed in wanting you to live,
despite your suicidal depression,
and, now, I hope, despite your cancer diagnosis,
you will want to live.

You still ice skate, run, and go for long walks.
You like to be along the water.
Annapolis, a port city,
docks of soggy feathers,
narrow roads, bricked and cobble stone paths.

We walk these streets together,
and you admire the architecture
of a city that wants to exist.
The city is you, Dad,
and we are both gone from suburbia
to live along the coast
as the Earth heats up.

You studied the Earth
and the changes in agriculture,
long ago when you were young enough
to embrace Marxism.

Today you embrace the attic where you live
and the local take-out options.
You don’t own a cell phone or any phone at all.
You email me from your semi-retirement job.
“Thanks for the card from the bookstore,” you say.
“Keep in touch.”

April Penn participates in the 365 Blog, a challenge to write a poem everyday for a sapril2year. She has featured at the Cantab Poetry Lounge, Out of the Blue Gallery, Occupy Boston and UMASS Amherst. She is currently working on a manuscript of poems about gender identity. Check out her blog: or email her at


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