A POEM FOR MY FATHER ON HIS BIRTHDAY. 17/01/1926 - 12/10/1987
My Father's Name is Alberico
I told everyone
your name was Albert,
tried to make you like the others,
tweed jacket instead of linen.
I told the mothers to drop me off at the
end of our street after netball,
lest they saw the tidy rows of tomatoes planted
instead of daisies.
Alberico, I was a hopeless fool.
A tiny, dark eyed girl
who needed to deny
the words -
wog, dago, spag -
hurled like futile paper darts,
aimed at a frail heart, already old.
Today the cafe on the corner offered roasted red capsicum on sour dough
I bought it though the price was much too high.
And now my face reddens as I remember schoolday lunches. Furtive
anguish as I pulled the sandwiches from my case. Olive oil seeping
through the home made bread, the fragrant amaretti biscuits
crumbling like my paper coffee cup under the boys' heels.
I stand before your headstone
and see your name carved in marble
for all the world to see.
This is my father, Alberico,
and I am his daughter, Rosa.