I ran into him on a city street, each of us
surprised to find the other out in the world.
He liked coming this way, he said,
motioning to a concession stand nearby,
for an Orange Julius, a soft drink
mixed with crushed ice and powdered sugar.
“Can I buy you one?” he said. It was all so sweet.
Always the doctor, holding some patient’s hand,
he’d never held mine. We stood there with our drinks,
not knowing what to say, as if I’d caught him
enjoying some illicit pleasure.

How mad he was later when I ran off with a girl,
getting her pregnant before we married.
Then came Parkinson’s, the slow erosion
of all his faculties, Mom spoon-feeding him.
“A bum deal,” he said before sinking into silence.
You couldn’t tell if it was the sickness
or anger that took his speech.

Last night in a dream he was back, Cheshire smile
on his face, the kind you wear
anticipating surprising someone
you know will be glad to see you.
He had hair and a mustache — Grandpa
looked like that, not Father. And here
I was, older than him. We hugged —
something we never did. How glad
we were to see each other. I took him up
in my arms — Father in my arms, for chrissake!
There were revelers, with bread and honey
on a plate. Just like that, the way it is
in a dream. Hungry, I broke some off,
swiped it through the honey.