The New Patriarch

Going through their closet
before moving Mom out of her condo,

I kept Dad’s jazzy fedora and smoking jacket
and turquoise belt buckle (one notch let out),

and loafers (lifts removed)
it looked like he’d never worn.

Back at my family home,
alone after dinner, I asked Mr. Coffee,

purchased for $19.99 on Amazon,
to make four cups at 6 a.m.—though

truth be known, Mr. C. never beat me up
in the morning. Then I put on those shoes

to break the leather in,
now that I was supposed to walk in them.


Gerard Sarnat, MD, received his education at Harvard and Stanford. He established and staffed clinics for the disenfranchised, has been a CEO of healthcare organizations, and was a Stanford professor. He and his wife of forty-five years have three children and two grandchildren, with more on the way, and they live in the room above their oldest daughter’s garage.

Gerry is the author of three critically acclaimed collections: Homeless Chronicles: from Abraham to Burning Man (2010), Disputes (2012), and 17s (2014) in which each poem, stanza or line has 17 syllables. More info at:

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