By Noel Ignatiev
Telephone conversation with my best friend from high school. We had not seen each other or spoken since graduation in 1958 and only exchanged a couple of letters. We soon established that we were a couple of old guys. How did that happen, he asked—not the first to ask that question. He recalled my father fondly, the time he came back into the house after a bird had shit on his new hat, with the comment, For the rich, they sing. I dream of my father as a young man. We compete to see who can run an unspecified distance the fastest. I do it in 57 seconds. My father beats my time—56 seconds. I envision him as a beautiful young man. He had lost his trunks—that can happen in dreams—and I see him running into the distance, nude, in long, graceful strides. Freud says that every character in our dreams is us. If that is so, my dream is no mystery. My father wrote poetry. He worked hard at it. One of his poems read: Rampaging Time, hard-hoofed/ leaves us all behind/ gazing from the monster’s rear/ Into its eternal mind.