Serving House: A Journal of Literary Arts
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SHJ Issue 9
Spring 2014

I’d Have Liked Some Dinner

by Helen Wickes

That was the night when my father—I hadn’t seen him
in years—was to meet me in Manhattan, certain place,
certain hour, you’ve already guessed it, the hours,
they passed, before the phone—that voice—
drunk and mumbling—he’d lost the last two numbers     

of my number and trying every combination, voila!
and Ole! he reached me! could I get there and did I
have any money! oh well, yes, I sausaged myself
into the dark blue wool—quite proper—and walked
forever to the ‘21’ Club where Dad was being tossed
out—raging, whining—I hadn’t, I’ve told you already—

seen him in years. The polite, oily men in tuxedos
stuffed him into a taxi; we drove around, him hungry
to show me, to have me know his old spots up town—
where most back then weren’t dumb enough to tour
at midnight. He tapped the driver to idle, nudging me,

here I danced Saturday nights, smoked the wicked weed
here, a dame, up there, he said, as I sat there cringing.
But he’s gone now, and oh Lord, that sad, lost night
was a long time ago.


SHJ Issue 9
Spring 2014

Helen Wickes

lives in Oakland, California, and worked for many years as a psychotherapist. In 2002 she received an M.F.A. from Bennington College. Her first book of poems, In Search of Landscape, was published in 2007 by Sixteen Rivers Press. Her poems can be read and heard online at From The Fishouse.

Her work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in AGNI Online, Amarillo Bay, Arroyo Literary Review, Atlanta Review, California Quarterly, TriQuarterly, ZYZZYVA, and many other journals as well as in the anthology, Best of the Web 2009.

“...we have been born here to witness and celebrate. We wonder at our purpose for living. Our purpose
is to perceive the fantastic. Why have a universe if there is no audience?” — Ray Bradbury