On Father’s Day, this week’s poem reminds us how a simple act can conjure a deep memory of a father who’s gone from the earth. When a father is deeply present in the life of his child, his presence is never forgotten.

Marcia F. Brown lives in Cape Elizabeth and is the author of four poetry collections. She edited the anthology “Port City Poems” and from 2013 to 2015 served as poet laureate of Portland.

Thrown Back

By Marcia F. Brown

When you picked up that jagged

fragment of glass

and hurled it back into the sea,

you were simply a husband

protecting his wife’s bare feet –

Yet seeing that easy, elegant yawn

of your arm unfurled sideways,

not rippling even

your upright stroll, not

breaking for a syllable

our random conversation –

I’m robbed of speech and place,

so like my father’s

is that throw,

that suddenly familiar motion.

I’d long since thought that he

was lost to me.

But seeing that arm

that muscled sweep

clearing earth’s very edge

of hazard, that gesture

of power, intent and throw-away grace,

I lose him all over again.

Gibson Fay-LeBlanc is Portland’s poet laureate. This column is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. Poem copyright © 2010 Marcia F. Brown. It appeared in “What on Earth” (Moon Pie Press, 2010) and appears here by permission of the author.

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