I open the door and he’s there,
thin lips stretched tight
to form his crescent smile,
belly round but not too big,
firm like a melon tucked into his belt.
I always loved this moment.
Grown child returned to visit,
my father at the door.
This is our hug:
the moment when all our affection
is allowed to be expressed.
We are glad.
The melon belly
makes me lean up into his shoulders
and he makes those silly noises,
grunting like a bear.
I am delighted
at the wind being squeezed out of me.
Daddy, today I let myself remember,
today I let you into my heart.
All the other days I cannot bear
to think of you —
the pain of loss and longing
leaps to life too readily.
But today I invite your image,
and it doesn’t make me cry.
It’s Father’s Day,
and I, too,
want to celebrate my father.


©Ellen Azorin