For My Dad

Tree House

I gave up on the tree house
before my father even finished it.
Realized, too late, I was not that kind of boy.
Bugs, summer heat and climbing ropes
were for other boys, especially those
wearing tight shorts.
Forgive me, Dad, for wasting all your time,
for demanding a roof, trap door, writing desk,
sliding pole and secret compartments
the envy of all my playmates. I did try to love it.
I dutifully climbed up with toys in hand,
Six Million Dollar Man and Bionic Woman,
had them leap out of harms way to the ground
below, but just like in the episode where Jaime
jumped from a too high place, the hard plastic
shattered on impact. Cheap Kenner toys.
Teary-eyed I handed the remains to you,
and you tried to glue their feet back on,
knowing I would never go up that tree again.
Before we moved away, the tree house
rotting and starting to sag, we stood
in the yard and looked up at the remains
and you shook your head and said, “Oh, well.”
I heard the new owners considered keeping it,
fixing it up for their own kids, but this tree house
could never belong to them.
It was too full of whims and capitulations,
a memorial to the son whose father would have
given him anything.

--Collin Kelley


Justin Evans said…

Thank you for this. It helped me find one more small piece of the puzzle. My grandfather, who raised me, dies three years ago, and I have yet to ba able to properly mourn him. I don't know if i will ever be able to get my head around something so immense, but your poem helps me.
I love the complex emotion in this poem. It's beautiful, very moving. Our fathers are always such complicated presences in our lives, aren't they?

Anonymous said…
I love this one.

beautiful ck
Peter said…
That's sweet.
ButtonHole said…
oh my god this is so fucking great!!!!!!
Enjoyed your apporach to this poem, Collin. Good work. Thanks for posting it.
tammy said…
just beautiful and very moving. so good to meet you (finally) at Wordsmiths.
Emily Benton said…
a very nice homage & poem.
Maggie May said…
really engaging and lovely.
Lisa Allender said…
Okay, Coll, I bit my lip--I felt I might cry, at reading this. Truly elegant(in "The Elegant Universe" kind-of-way).
Nick said…
Catching up. I'm afraid. Still. thanks for this!
Anonymous said…
this is so beautiful.

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