Walking 5th Avenue
by Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer

I am again fifteen
with my father,
my first trip to New York,
and he is not yet
in life-changing pain,
and we stare
in store windows,
eat street pretzels
and look for sales racks.
I don’t know yet
how he will hurt
too much to walk,
how even standing
will become impossible.
No, in this memory
we are walking
and laughing
as if we will forever,
as if there won’t
be a morning
when I wake in New York
almost four decades later
and reach to call him
and thank him
for that long-ago trip,
only to remember
he can no longer
answer the phone.
All day, I hear his laughter
as I walk. All day,
I feel his hand
reaching for mine.

PAINTING: 754 Fifth Avenue by Patrick Pietropoli (2013). 

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: A place can be such a strong vessel for holding memory. I was struck, when I returned to New York City for the first time since I was a girl, just how much I associate the city with my father. The visit itself was twice a gift—joy in being there in the present, joy in feeling closer to the past.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer co-hosts Emerging Form (a podcast on creative process), Secret Agents of Change (a surreptitious kindness cabal), and Soul Writer’s Circle. Her poetry has appeared on A Prairie Home Companion, PBS Newshour, O Magazine, Rattle, American Life in Poetry and her daily poetry blog, A Hundred Falling Veils. Her most recent collection, Hush, won the Halcyon Prize. Naked for Tea was a finalist for the Able Muse Book Award. One-word mantra: Adjust.

Author photo by Joanie Schwarz.