Letter to My Father Concerning Moby-Dick
by Rosemarie Crisafi

Most of the presents you gave me---
the dollhouse, the crayons, the Barbie doll---
I passed along to my sister who would love them,
undaunted by the future they held,

not having been prisoner to those small walls,
miniature chairs, and an army of 64 colors.
Some mementos unfurl a large mast, so, I saved
the books that took me further than dreams.

Even then, they seemed ancient and worn, now
on a shelf, each harbors the secrets
of their species: halibut, swordfish or an eel
with hinged skull escaping nets and harpoons.

They anchor the bookcase of a home you will
never visit, making it a ship overlooking
the sea of my back window. On each page
I vanish into the whiteness of the whale.

I find you in this heavy gift, in the leaf,
you once turned and smoothed, that your lamp
illuminated, grateful for it, just as you were.

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