when i cross the country to visit, my father squeezes meeting
into shopping trips and work appointments
so his wife won't know
he breaches her order to steer clear
of the daughter who won't keep quiet.
and i can't deny it hurts to skulk
among aisles with my father instead of chatting
on his couch or driving to visit grandma.
yet, even this sham errand shelters the joy
of being two or three and riding aloft
his shoulders at the Fourth of July parade.
there was the thrill of seeing everything for a me
normally lost amid grown-up legs
and the pride of being held high. that moment inhabits us
like a ladyslipper
among a few remaining trees.