COMING HOME

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Submitted Date 08/15/2019
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Coming Home
Age 39, East Durham, North Carolina, 1983
The photograph is of the Durham Bulls sign at the ballpark.
-- This is one poem, from my autobiographical series of poems, that I posted here at WriteSpike. Go to my Stories section for others. They are in chronological order. --

My step-mother had a stroke
and my almost ninety-year-old father
needed to be taken care of

while my step-brother dealt with my step-mother,
I flew to Florida to get my Dad
and take him back
to Durham where I lived -
with no idea of what I would do
once he arrived

I was living in a cheap house
everyone told me not to buy
because it was in a changing
black/white neighborhood
(even the African-American bank
would not give me a loan)

but I had not been concerned
having been in the civil rights movement
and after I bought the house
I became good friends
with a black woman, Lil, next door
who ran a home for single men

after our flight
sitting in the airport,
I realized that Lil
might have a vacant room
and by chance she did

we decided to try it for a couple of days,
and then, when my Dad liked it,
he stayed

looking out from my office
I could see his window
and be in his room in less than a minute

always close
our relationship entered a new phase -
I gained more respect for him
as he adapted easily to his changed situation
and made several close friends
in the home

a year and a half later he died
yet I had the satisfaction of knowing
that I had done right by him
and that the choices I had made
allowed this time for us

it was a metaphor for my life:
be responsible for the people you care about
follow your instincts
treat everyone with respect
spend as little money as possible
and things have a way of working out

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