for Ted Lapp, 7/17/1904 – 2/14/ 1987
A postcard from India of the Taj Mahal
bundled in grocery flier with the phone bill
in a condo mail box on snow-sparkled street.
I collect the card, using my father’s key.
He’d have liked the colors in it, creamy white,
rose and teal. They’d have cheered him
at the end of his illness, a winter of blizzards.
Dad longed to visit that monument to devoted love,
but for curries and unrefrigerated meats, sure
to have thrown his digestion into spasms,
he who’d wiped off silverware in restaurants.
Tom, younger neighbor who sent the card,
loved birds and wild beasts as much as Dad.
It arrived almost in time, so I read it aloud to Ted,
departed days before from earth with its mixed wonders,
cathedrals of Europe he loved, ruined by war,
visited as an officer, and much later, beaches
in Aruba and Jamaica where he dined
on conch soup and beer, quoting Whitman
in his postcard to me:
“I loaf and invite my soul,
I lean and loaf at my ease.”
Claudia Lapp 2009