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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.

Forgive me.

This is my father, Alberico,

and I am his daughter, Rosa.