An Apple Half Pared
by D.C. Buschmann

I'd planned on spending catch-up time with Daddy
after retirement. We'd hang out, go to Mayberry Days
festival, absorb the scent of fall, eat lunch
at the old drug store, feel a slight chill
walking the Mt. Airy sidewalks, remark
about the condition of Barney's police car.

I'd laugh at Daddy's witty comments and clichés,
balk at his sarcasm—
measure joy in tiny spoonfuls.

We'd visit his friends and neighbors,
especially "Yankee," the neighbor with the llamas.
We'd eat at Gus's Seafood Restaurant,
hear Gus discuss the weather
when he'd stop by our table
to pay his respects.

I'd listen intently when the hunters
dropped by on a Sunday
before deer season
to ask hunting permission on Daddy's land,
and later, I'd enjoy with him
the venison stew they always brought.

He'd tell stories about our ancestors—
some true, some not. I'd jot down
writerly details before more time peeled away.

Instead, I saw him last in a sterile hospital room.
He asked me to move his bed
so he could look out the window.
It was our last Sunday together.
He could barely speak.

We gazed out the window in sync       for a time.

Sparrows landed on the windowsill.
A boy sped by on roller blades
five floors down.

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