Dad’s Birthday

Today was my Dad’s birthday. Happy Birthday, Dad! No one alive knows any more the truth or myth of the family story that his mom tried to hold off his delivery until after April Fools Day, 1925. But babies come when they are ready and even a very stubborn German lady might not be able to pull that off!

He died in 1985, (when my son was just shy of one year old). He was 60, the age I am very aware of approaching. And very aware of how young that was, how much I have left I want to do. In 2009 I posted some poems for his birthday. Here are a few more.


Watermelon Reminds Me of Michigan

My strapping Dad buying
a couple big, unsplit,

possibly ripe, whole ones
for the extended family reunions.

Chill and wrap in layers of newspaper
to keep cool in summer heat.

Slippery wet black seeds
could be pinched between thumb

and forefinger,
shooting some distance

into park crabgrass
or spit, with juice

running down the chin,
face a satisfied grin.

Yes, that watermelon,
sometimes salted half-moon slices

or quarters for the youngest
(don’t eat below the pink part!)

treats in the hot season,
limited availability then.

Margaret Dubay Mikus
© 2008


Sitting With It

My uncle died last week,
my Dad’s only brother,

I was not that close to him
so the intensity of my grieving

ambushed me.
But he represented my father,

gone these 25 years,
and he represented my past, my childhood,

my tribe, my clan (all that expectation).
All the memories wrapped up in one man.

He represented all the aunts and uncles beginning to pass on
and my mother, waiting in line.

I am from Michigan people who gathered
and stayed together, supported each other.

And I left them to find myself—
the gain in that decision

greater than the loss, but there was loss nevertheless,
any connection to them from a distance.

Any relationship of my children to them,
more fragile and tenuous.

(My children did not grow up with
extended family at every important occasion.)

And now that my Dad’s brother is gone…
no more chances for understanding.

Margaret Dubay Mikus
© 2010

My father was a complex man and we had our troubles growing up, but I am grateful for many things, the lessons I continue to learn from him. This poem was written as part of body-mind-emotion-spirit energy healing work I did with Tricia Eldridge (founder of Energy Touch School for Advanced Healing in Michigan) to deal with recurring abdominal weakness and other persistent health issues.


Old Wounds Healed

My Dad came this time,
invited to participate,

to undo what had been done,
to take back what had been said,

lodged in my gut but rightfully
belonged to him.

She said he struggled with it,
but kept on until the dark mass,

that chain and ball or anchor?
who knows, not mine,

but his, and now returned to him,
leaving me lighter, healing.

He died 24 years ago,
I have worked hard

over and over to heal and forgive.
Last week he showed up

clearer than ever—in a good way—
sitting at our old Formica kitchen table,

cutting giblets and celery for stuffing
the Thanksgiving turkey.

Was that his ethereal gold form
standing last night in my room?

Did he choose to come help
or did I call him…or both…or neither?

Just the right timing,
you know how this works:

what is ready to be healed
come up to the surface.

However painful, allowing the feeling
releases the hold.

Still true,
still true.

Margaret Dubay Mikus
© 2009

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