Dogs 2006

WHERE THERE'S SMOKE
(11/29/06)


Dad was here
for the first of his
twice-a-year visits
and after the initial
catching up and pleasantries
we lapsed
into the distracted familiarity
of watching basketball on TV
and going out
for meals

as we sat
in my living room
one night
he pointed
to the smoke detector
and informed me
that

"the red light
flashes
every 30 seconds"

I watched
and considered
no doubt about it
he was right
but why the Hell
would he notice
such a thing?

then I remembered
how I had plagued him
with endless questions
and similar
pointed observations
in my youth

"Nineveh
was the capital
of Assyria"

everyone would stop
and stare
no way to drop
those obscure facts
casually into a conversation
but I had to get them out
from my home
on the Planet
Non Sequitur

in his seventies
maybe this was my father's
anticipated second childhood
or maybe
his focus had shifted
from the work-a-day world
in which I dwelt
and he was again free
to notice
the nits and gnats
of the insignificant

"is that so"

I said
in my best fatherly
dismissive acknowledgement
and he smiled
but continued to watch
that flashing beacon
of a world
rediscovered