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For once, he was just my father.
We drove to the Computing Center
in a Monte Carlo Landau
not technically ours. Lexington,

1977. That fall. The color
had settled, too, undone
orange-brown and dull yellow,
crimson. And it was something,

yet not, the pile of  leaves
just a pile of  leaves. Sorry to think
what thinking has done to landscape:
He loved punched cards,

program decks and subroutines,
assembly languages
and keypunch machines.
Even my father looked small

next to a mainframe.
The sound of order;
the space between us.
We almost laughed, but not for years —

we almost laughed. But not. For years,
the space between us,
the sound of order
next to a mainframe.

Even my father looked small.
And keypunch machines,
assembly languages,
program decks and subroutines.

He loved punched cards,
what thinking has done to landscape —
just a pile of leaves. Sorry to think,
yet not, the pile of leaves

crimson. And it was. Something
orange-brown and dull yellow
had settled, too, undone
1977, that fall, the color

not technically ours, Lexington
in a Monte Carlo Landau.
We drove to the Computing Center.
For once he was just, my father.

Source: Poetry (April 2013)

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This poem originally appeared in the April 2013 issue of Poetry magazine

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