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Look Homeward
by Ed Bennett

The path was overgrown,
a bare perception unless one knew
the sinuous route burned into
the flesh of a childhood memory.

The deed for the field adjacent
had another name notarized
and what was the barn
was roofless, fallen in on itself

Yet the house was standing,
empty and daunting as
a Halloween stereotype before
our eyes and skewed perspective.

My father held his step
thirty yards from the half hinged door,
said nothing, recalled no story
to share with me as he wept.

He was, until that minute,
the strongest man I'd known
now weak with quiet tears
at what seemed, to me, a hovel

Until the day I felt the weight
of the years, acts, omissions
piled like kindling on the pyre
of my own massed recollections.

The house was standing,
defiant and gravid for my father
with the mark of his epitaph
in the South Jersey pines.

He will always be strong in the tears
he shared with a skeptic son.
He will always stand defiant
outside the skin of another
s stereotype,


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