My father’s compass sits on a mantel
In the wooden box it was transferred to
when he sold the boat it guided.
He knew that boat would be his last.
This compass guided him around the Caribbean
and the Gulf of Mexico when the stars
were unavailable due to weather.
It told me my home was built with
traditions of this arid land in mind:
Each side faces a cardinal point
and at the equinoxes the rising sun
shines directly thru my front door.
Twenty years ago, caring for him
as cancer dismantled his brain
how helpless I felt as I watched while,
somewhat like HAL in 2001: A Space Odyssey,
he revisited his past, seeing those long dead,
as his thought processes unraveled.
Finally, he could no longer read,
this man who taught me the power of words.
Seeing the dry-docked boat compass now
I am reminded of the internal compass
he gave me at a tender age,
with the cardinal points of inquiry, reasoning,
responsibility and compassion.
This internal compass keeps me on course
despite pirates and storms.
© efbarmore 6/13/15