Your Father of Brooklyn

Your Father of Brooklyn
Jane Varley

Let’s go to Brooklyn, bring your father along. It won’t bother us when he asks how much longer, when he looks out the window and questions where we are and why we are doing what we are doing. You won’t listen when he asks again after the passing of just one more minute why it’s taking so long. The road is a lullaby—he will sleep and you will drive awhile and then you’ll let me drive. DC, Baltimore, and Philly have been removed and that makes our drive easier, so much faster, and when we see the skyline I will say the Towers haunt the view and we’ll have that conversation and then the tone will lighten again. We’ll go over the bridge and you’ll drive into the heart of things, where we find the roots of your family and as we walk (your father walks between us) we talk about my family too and how my family farm in Jackson County Iowa is just about the opposite but there is a sameness too—we are speaking in large language, of humanity, of existence and what connects us all. On this day we say the right things, the true things, and life is right here at our fingertips, in our vision, and your father is amazed, is young again, like it’s 1955 and he owns the street and wears a hat like the men of New York wore and the umbrella hook handle he swings from his index finger like a movie star and the rain has stopped and the sun is now coming on. I remark the hardest part of being in a city is I can’t see the horizon and you say look, there’s horizon all around, I just have to learn how to see it, and suddenly your father is walking ahead, and we can see he is starting toward some realm way in the distance, with the black buildings standing by and shadowing him and he is all fathers, mothers too, leaving us in our places to become them.

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