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When we finally sprung my father from the hospital
after days spent staring at the cardio unit’s
cinderblock walls the color of nothing
good, his joy could not be contained.
Every meal he ate was the best he’d ever had.
I worried, at first, that my mother would feel slighted
by his ecumenical praise—the biscuits on the buffet line
at the Golden Corral no less holy than hers. But she knew
better than I how to savor his delights.
As we traveled the back roads from doctor to home,
he asked at every turn,
Have you ever seen a spring as beautiful as this,
the red of that maple, the washed denim sky?
Copyright Pauletta Hansel. Originally published in Thimble Literary Magazine: VOL. 3 NO. 3, November, 2020.
Pauletta Hansel’s eight poetry collections include Friend, Coal Town Photograph and Palindrome, winner of the 2017 Weatherford Award for best Appalachian poetry.