Spoonful: A Gathering of Stone Soup Poets

An extension of Cambridge's Stone Soup Poetry Venue.

Chad Parenteau

Photo by Su Red

My Father Defies Death to Write Me A Letter 35
Years Later Whether or Not I Made It Past 64

Did you ever figure out
why you picked up cigarettes
at my apartments
by the slum house,
its jungle lawn catching
garbage tossed from windows?

Do you know I gave haven
in the state I would bite back
in the town I didn’t even want you
to marry into? Did you surmise

I was teaching you
to squeeze stone from stone
to make blood?
You wouldn’t be first to beg God
for blasphemies.

Do you think I’d chose
my dream house in Cambridge,
or even Franklin,
half-a-college town? It was Bellingham,
Massachusetts for Peter’s sake.
The town’s motto:
“Not The Bellingham in Washington.”

Why choose there for
my wife's museum quality home
where the police stop by
to share wine on our deck
and give confession.

Admit it.

You thought about my tenants
my driveway with cigarette butts
I sent you to pick up
the day you threw out
the heavy-breathing poets in your audience,
mummy-shuffling to compete
for a woman’s knee. And your jobs,
your causes.
How many years did you spend
in position, running to from toppling
Roman-style columns
before you could stop
pride gasped, This will hold.


Remember the car crash I survived,
the self-made compact they pried me from,
the newspaper report I kept closer to my heart
than any campaign clipping. Have you learned it
about our family?

We're promoted to captains in our first shitstorm,
amidst gossip, people have been fitting
you for straightjackets and coffins
since junior high. Make these your hulls
and sails, pirate them
to ride your own.