Sunday, September 30, 2012

“My Father’s Tuba Disappeared” by Maria Gillan

From Maria Gillan’s new volume, The Place I Call Home, comes this poem that we can all identify with - things lost that we might have saved.

My Father’s Tuba Disappeared

My father’s tuba disappeared somewhere in my childhood,
though there is one picture of him holding the tuba
in his arms, wearing the gold epaulettes and fitted jacket
of his band uniform, proud in full sunlight, our tenement,
gray and seedy, in the background.

By the time I was old enough to notice, my father’s tuba
had vanished into some locked closet, only the picture
to remind us that once he marched in that band
through the streets of Paterson, playing
booming tuba music and smiling.

Only now do I remember the gleam of that tuba,
the pride in his straight shoulders, and regret
that I lost this part of his life long before he died
at ninety-two, all that time when I could have asked him
when he stopped playing the tuba and why and what
happened to the gold braid of his uniform.