literary magazine, creative writing, poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, clackamas literary review, clr Home | Announcements | From the CLR Editors
Authors/Works/Issues | Contests | Submissions
Subscriptions/Ordering | About CLR | Email CLR
Previous Work             Next Work             Return to Contents
Also by Bart Edelman:
Your Father's Ghost | Forgiveness | Bashevis | In Albany Love

also see Kate Gray's review of The Gentle Man

Your Father's Ghost

I tried—really I did—
To crawl into your life
And make sense of the madness
I was unable to comprehend.
Through the small Southwestern towns,
Across the great state of Texas,
I followed your father's ghost,
Never very far behind.
Traveling east on Interstate 10—
Driving home to Lafayette—
I asked him why . . . why . . . why . . .
But he refused to answer;
His lips, twisted and fixed
On the asphalt ahead of him,
Counting each mile as if it were
The last step towards execution.
And I can well imagine—
The soberest day he ever spent,
Came when they took you away
And gave you another man's name.
He must have been dead, then,
Before the ink dried on the document,
Yet he would have five long years
To test the depth of his sorrow
At the bottom of a bottle.
As for you, sweet girl,
The past is often unkind
To an innocent child
Along for the ride.

Printed in the Fall/Winter 2000 issue of CLR

Bart Edelman Bart Edelman

Bart Edelman is a professor of English at Glendale College in Glendale, California, where he is the editor of Eclipse, a literary journal. He has been the recipient of numerous grants and fellowships to study literature in India, Egypt, Nigeria, and Poland. His work has appeared in newspapers, journals, and anthologies. His poetry collections include Crossing the Hackensack (Prometheus Press, 1993), Under Damaris' Dress (Lightning Publications, 1996), The Alphabet of Love (Red Hen Press, 1999), and The Gentle Man (Red Hen Press, 2001).

You can find Bart Edelman on the web at:
—  Glendale College
—  The Gentle Man
—  Alphabet of Love
—  Under Damaris' Dress
—  Crossing the Hackensack
—  Amazon
—  Barnes & Noble

Published by Clackamas Literary Review, in print and on the web at,, and
Copyright 2001-2002, Clackamas Community College