Take Hours of Video of Your Parents Every Year
by Lucia Cherciu

On a cassette tape, my father’s voice, at first unsure,
trails, warms up, arches over the room–
the songs, arcane; the tunes, rare.

On a videotape from my aunt’s wedding,
my father smiles a bit tipsy.
In grainy black and white,
drenched in the frenzy of a Gypsy band,
the camera lingers on wide tapestries
with oversized bouquets of peonies
displayed on the walls.
In his dark blue-gray suit,
my father raises his glass beaming:
after all, he introduced the married couple!

Another camera snaps a brief scene
on the evening news
of a tall poplar tree toppled over,
in which the female reporter interviews my father
in front of the building
and he describes calmly what happened.
The tree lies flat in the street. Nobody’s hurt.

These are the only three recordings of my father.
The first, someone may have taped over.
The wedding video, an uncle claims he has it
but no one has certified
its presumed existence.
As for the third tape, my sister caught
the two-minute bit on TV a few years back
and beamed to recognize my father
before the news switched to another story—
the image smudged, the background washed away.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: This is a picture of my father as a young man.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I still can’t believe I don’t have any video recording of my father! I remember when I was in high school I taped him singing, but that cassette disappeared. It’s been thirteen years since he passed away, and I would do anything to hear his voice again.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lucia Cherciu was born in Romania and came to the United States in 1995. She is a Professor of English at SUNY / Dutchess in Poughkeepsie, New York, and writes both in English and in Romanian. Her new book of poetry, Train Ride to Bucharest was published in April 2017 by Sheep Meadow Press. Edible Flowers, which was a finalist for the Eugene Paul Nassar Poetry Prize, was published in 2015 by Main Street Rag. Her other books of poetry are Lepădarea de Limbă (The Abandonment of Language), Editura Vinea 2009, and Altoiul Râsului (Grafted Laughter), Editura Brumar 2010. Her poetry received Honorable Mention for the Steven A. DiBiase Poetry Prize and was nominated twice for a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. Her web page is