A glass of water, half consumed, remained
Neglected at the table where she sat
Before her father tenderly explained
How nothing can be done, and that is that.
Oh, how can one so quickly lose all hope?
She asked herself as numbness settled in.
And as she wondered how she’d ever cope
He thought about the places he had been,
The accolades he’d hung upon the wall
In black and silver frames, advanced degrees,
Group photos from his days of playing ball,
His membership in nine societies…
With all of these and more he was undone
By forces far outside of his control
Accomplishments, hard-earned, now felt unwon,
Despair crept in and grappled with his soul.
He’d trade it all if he could ease her pain.
He hadn’t meant to make his daughter cry.
His life was lived too fully to complain,
Yet still he wasn’t set to say goodbye.
Randal A. Burd, Jr. is a married father of two and an educator who works with the disadvantaged in rural Missouri. He holds a master’s degree in English Curriculum & Instruction from the University of Missouri. Randal is currently the Editor-in-Chief of Sparks of Calliope magazine. His latest collection of poems, Memoirs of a Witness Tree, is forthcoming from Kelsay Books in Summer 2020.