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Last Goodbye

by James Zealy

Labor Day weekend at the beach,
Rain drives drifts to sea,
Clouds part,
The sun creases the clouds,
A camper isolated eerily quiet,

Young children clamor and play,
A car approaches stops,
Its occupant slowly exits,
The purposeful gait not the same,
Arrogance dissipates to uncertainty.

A tap on the door, a tentative greeting,
The children approach Paw Paw is here,
Uncharacteristically attentive he pauses,
Smiles softly,
Donating each ample quarters.

The arcade room lures them away,
He sits brushing his hair, hands tremoring,
Carefully constructing his words,
His daughter dubiously listens, untrusting,
Her husband observes, appraising.

Slowly and painfully he speaks, admitting past sins,
A father not a father how sad,
Searching for forgiveness at the end,
An apology eerily final

A hug and a kiss a goodbye,
The last words heard from his lips,
A proud man broken, the car departs,
A sinister premonition of approaching events,

The end is swift abrupt and final,
An act of free will,
A sad testimony to a life misspent,
His soul at peace at last.


Author's Note: My father in law was physically abusive, a filanderer, and an alcoholic. He died October 15, 1986 by his own hand, a gun shot to the head. He was a used car dealer who had his driver's license revoked for life after he was caught driving on the side walk completely drunk, the day before he killed himself. On A labor day weekend in 1986 he paid us a visit at the Myrtle Beach Travel Park Camp Ground, and aplogized for all the mistakes he had made. We knew it was his way of saying goodbye. It was the last we ever heard from him, until we were notified of his death. How tragic it was to waste a life.

Posted on 08/25/2004
Copyright © 2021 James Zealy

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