Falling Apples

He said he reads poets and
sometimes copies them for
practice. She said, you don’t
copy poets. He said, I mean

the form. He bends over back-
wards not to plagiarize. He
even credits sources for an
idea that will evolve into a

poem by placing an asterisk
next to the title indicating
an attribution. Where does
that come from, he wondered.

My dad, I think, he said.
Not my mother, he said
with a laugh. Where did
his immigrant, orphaned in

his teens, tossed-around dad
get that, that thing called
integrity? He doesn’t have
a clue but he feels proud to

have a little of it, too, as an
homage to an otherwise, sad,
short life, but a life full of
aphorisms like don’t ever

admit guilt if you are innocent.
Fess up if you are guilty. It’s
your word, son, the only word
you have and then just watching

him get ticked off when his
golfing partner, his brother-in-
law, a self-righteous, holier-
than-thou, kind of guy cheated

on his golf score. He thought
that if his dad were alive
today, and they played golf
together his dad would ask him

what game he was playing be-
cause he, the son, would claim
countless “gimmies,” which
his dad would never do, being

the by-the-book guy that
his dad was. The son’s answer
would be, I’m not cheating,
dad, I’m just playing by

the book of more gracious,
more forgiving rules. I’m
just trying to follow Jesus,
he would say with a smile.

Then he recalled his dad’s
sense of humor.

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