Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


Looking at My Father

It’s the inside which comes out, as I contemplate
him there half in sunlight, weeding diligently
a Midwestern lawn. On my persons, I have only notes
and a drying pen, the memory of onion blossoms
scenting in a window. Reflection is my native medium.
I am never arriving, only speaking briefly on material
conditions between myself and others. My country
inoculates me lovingly, over time. My country grasps me
like desire. I will show you my credentials, which is to say
my vivid description, if you ask. Here we are, my father
and I, never hostile, a small offering: pointless cut flowers
appear on the kitchen table when one finally arrives
into disposable income. Still possible. Am I living? Do I
accept revision as my godhead and savior?
I do and I am, and in the name of my Chinese father now
dragging the tools back inside, brow shining but always
a grin, faithless except to protect whatever I still have time
to become, Amen.

Credit


Copyright © 2017 by Wendy Xu. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on July 10, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem


“I wrote this poem for my father, to send him a prayer by way of loving contemplation. As poetry is a practice of sustained revision and betterment, so is the act of being my immigrant father’s daughter. I honor him by revisiting myself.”
—Wendy Xu

Author


Wendy Xu

Wendy Xu is the author of Phrasis (Fence Books, 2017) and You Are Not Dead (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2013).

Date Published: 2017-07-10

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/looking-my-father