Richard Calisch,
an award-winning poet and high school English teacher in Chicago, was the father of Wabash Professor of Art Doug Calisch.


Winter/Spring 2001

Father After Curfew

by Richard Calisch

Midnight is gone,
and dawn a boy's manhood away.
I stand barefoot and shivering
in the frigid, shadow-leafy kitchen
where the moon, cold watcher of my late night fears,
has splashed these dancing spectres over me.
My coffee is cold
and this cookie is a paste
I cannot chew.
In my blood November terror flows.

A car door slams outside the house,

and like a naughty child
I sneak back to my bed,
pull up my guilty covers,
and adjust my breathing
to the speed of sleep.
My wayward boy tickles the front door closed,
and stealths himself to bed,
no doubt smiling
as his father is
at being safe and warm and undetected
in the friendly dark.

Return to the table of contents