My Father's Stamps

1Like a gallery wall without a theme
2or a wall of windows
3that won’t make up its mind
4and vacillates on the vistas
5it gives way to,
6the typical page of paper my father
7stuck his stamps on
8is drywall in a dream:
9eight and a half by eleven inches
10of plaster whose portals
11(perforated squares)
12look upon a world
13of incongruous parts—an Eiffel Tower here,
14two wrestlers knotted there,
15a biplane crop-dusting this corner,
16some Queen ennobling that—
17panels in a comic
18book without cause
19and effect. But because
20he can no longer say the names
21of this stuff his stamps frame—
22because of the stroke—
23my father can only point
24to and take a tally
25of these windows he long ago
26decided would go
27together, even though they opened
28onto different kinds of light
29and weather. So I turn
30the pages. I point out stamps
31I know to be his favorites.
32But I want the well-meaning
33nurse (who stops to feign an interest,
34leaning over the stamps
35and speaking in the baby-talk
36that seems to be an old man’s birthright)
37to stop and look again:
38this is the work of one
39of the great surrealists.
RPO poem Editors: 
Jim Johnstone
RPO Edition: 
Special Copyright: 

Poem used with permission of the author.