Mona Van Duyn

(1921-2004 / United States)

Letters from a Father


Ulcerated tooth keeps me awake, there is
such pain, would have to go to the hospital to have
it pulled or would bleed to death from the blood thinners,
but can't leave Mother, she falls and forgets her salve
and her tranquilizers, her ankles swell so and her bowels
are so bad, she almost had a stoppage and sometimes
what she passes is green as grass.There are big holes
in my thigh where my leg brace buckles the size of dimes.
My head pounds from the high pressure.It is awful
not to be able to get out, and I fell in the bathroom
and the girl could hardly get me up at all.
Sure thought my back was broken, it will be next time.
Prostate is bad and heart has given out,
feel bloated after supper. Have made my peace
because am just plain done for and have no doubt
that the Lord will come any day with my release.
You say you enjoy your feeder, I don't see why
you want to spend good money on grain for birds
and you say you have a hundred sparrows, I'd buy
poison and get rid of their diseases and turds.

Submitted: Monday, January 20, 2003

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  • Hy Cohen (5/15/2006 10:09:00 PM)

    A FATHERS LETTER, as it appears here, is incomplete and misrepresented. The full text shows the recuperative power of the the birdfeeder and the birds. It should be run in its entirety to enjoy its rare upbeat irony. (Report) Reply

  • Joanah Keenly (12/3/2004 10:02:00 PM)

    she had 'mental illness, ' that kept her from writing...the newspaper said. she was 83 when she died the other day. her husband had been there until the the end. he reported that her writing had stopped just 8 years ago...with long periods of productive health inbetween the 'episodes.' the paper also noted she wrote poetry since she was five years old. every one i have read since, including this, has shown her strong spirit and spry sense of humor...her knack for seeing the extraordinary in the...crazy everyday madness we all strive to be lucky enough to survive...so long ²mona. jpk. (Report) Reply

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