Jeanne Obbard

When I was four,

I sometimes confused

Mister Rogers with my father.

Mister Rogersí orderly change

from shoes to slippers, and coat to cardigan

was something my father would do,

and my father was tall, too

with a long face and dark hair,

and somewhere,

my father was sitting in his armchair

in just the same way as Mister Rogers.

This mixing of fathers was not strange to me,

accustomed to the double-jointed rhythm

of every-other-month strung like beads on a string:

separation, visitation, separation,

and the half-conceived question

of where my father was

when he wasnít with me:

somewhere, you see, he was sitting

in his armchair

in just the same way,

solitary, with a book,

and if he looked up and saw me,

he would greet me with the same

gentle reserve.

Jeanne Obbard's poems have been published in Atlanta Review, APR, and Convergence. She is a Leeway Award Recipient and works in clinical research in the Philadelphia area.

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