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TITLE: A Whiff of Memory
By Val Clark
04/19/05
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Women who have struggled with their relationship with their father.
A Whiff of Memory

Yesterday.
Man.
Hair hanging limply
shirt molded to his body
circles of moisture
patches of wetness
a drift of sweet sweatiness
we pass in the street.

January 1967.
Dad.
Patrick.
‘Body odor is attractive to women.’
His only comment about sex.
Fathered six kids but sex was taboo.
A shoppie at the factory who never discussed politics.
An abused catholic, who never talked religion.
That left…

This morning.
Woman.
Daughter.
Shirt redolent with turpentine and linseed oil
she squeezes cobalt blue onto the pallet
hand made crusted pallet
tailored to fit Pat’s thumb
Pat’s waist.

Pat’s colors shimmer
her canvas blurs
her blues to his golds
her reds to his yellows.

Summer 1958
Father.
Daughter.
He only painted one portrait
a golden girl, squatting in golden sand.

Salt tears damp the cobalt blue
immiscible on her pallet.
You talked to her.
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