What’s Black and White

Every morning my father brings in the newspaper,

pours himself a cup coffee,

then sits at the dining room table with this idea of breakfast,

not to blow on the hot liquid, test its heat with his tongue,

or take an air infused slurp to see if it’s cool enough yet,

spoon in sugar or stir in cream,

but immediately to open the paper to the obituary section.

It’s his time of day to find out who’s died.

He’s not really interested in celebrities,

the famous names who’ve passed on,

some kind of glory grabbing for them the top of the page,

bold black ink names and titles, and big color photos,

quotes from numerous honorees of

this politician, that movie star, this athlete, that tycoon.

No, he’s interested in folks he knows, people he grew up with,

old family friends, relatives of relatives,

business or professional acquaintances from his life.

The older he gets, the more likely it is he’ll find one or more,

and more, and more people he knew,

exclaims the passing of each aloud,

will tell you how he knew them,

what part of their lives he shared with them.

The older he gets, the more likely

his coffee will be cold by the time he takes his first sip,

the more likely it feels as if he’s looking for his own name.

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