"A Private Vocabulary"
My father acceded to death after certain miscalculations.
He received inferior instruction in an earlier mathematics,
the same as all of his contemporaries who lacked ambition,
those who were content to repair cars and play sandlot ball,
fall in love with a pretty girl the same way their fathers had.
While still alive, my father worried until mute over a dream
instilled in him that with only his father's stonecutter tools
he could not build, nor make real enough, a sustaining path.
I recalled earlier hot summers, as he cut our suburban lawn,
he muttered under his breath a painful, private vocabulary,
then watched me to see if I had been alert. I did not then
nor can I now know his secret, only that as I read his journal
in which he speaks to his young wife in naval jargon of a war
he suppressed the remaining forty-four years of silent life.
Keith Moul’s poems and photos are published widely. In August, 2017, Aldrich Press released Not on Any Map, a collection of earlier poems.