I used to sit out and look at the stars.

They’d twinkle in the infinite darkness

Like the embers of my father’s cigars.

He used to sit with me—he loved to jest

About how each star was like a woman

Whom he had been with. He’d laugh through his beard,

‘Til the cough took hold. He’d call for his pan—

A small bucket that he had pioneered

To both carry and clean river water—

And I would run down the hill to get it.

I’d run past the house of Nat, his daughter,

Who’d sometimes come over to babysit.

Steve, her husband, would often visit dad

Dressed in a white coat. He’d never stay long.

But after, dad didn’t cough quite as bad.

Some nights he would even sing us a song.

But those glorious days are all but gone

‘Cause ma told me his heart went out at dawn.



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