"Seeing My Father After 11 Years" - Joe Milford

He had made a batch
Of sunflower seed cookies
And I talked and talked and talked.

I noticed that he, in his sixties
And me, in my late forties
Had the same silver goatee.

He hugged me so hard.
I couldn’t cry
Because he squeezed my tears in.

We talked about DeSoto Caverns
And how it stretched tens of miles
Underground to Taladega.

He used to drive me over
West Point Dam in his Volkswagen
Smoking KOOLS and drinking PBR.

What struck me was his voice—
It was the same as when I was
A kid—when I would look up to him--

When he talked to me today
He sounded the same as back then
And he did not sound tired. 

And he did not sound as if
He was surprised at the reunion.
It was like we were meeting

In those ancient Alabama caves
After both of us having had
So many journeys and adventures.

Both of us, looking for arrowheads
So that we would have proof when we arrived
Home that this had really happened.

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