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Final Say

Riley Woodford



When I spoke with Denise, she spoke most about her father and how much she missed him. She was also dispatch at a cab stand for a number of years. My idea for Denise was “what if someone called for a cab, but it was her dad.” That idea bounced around for a while, and first started out as a dream that she was having, where she wakes up and it was all over, but I didn’t like the loneliness of that ending. In its current form, I have the poem printed onto a canvas attached to a whiteboard, so that she could write messages to her dad. The idea was that reading the poem would transport her to heaven’s gates, so that she could converse with her father. This is paralleled in the poem’s title: “Final Say”, where she gets to have the final words to this piece.

Another slow somber night
Not a soul seen
Just a creak of the walls
As the frost bites at its timbers

A gentle hum of the radio
Dead air.
But enough to cut the silence
Not enough to free my mind
Free it from boredom’s chatter

It’s the moments like these
The silence
The calm

The rolodex of thought
Some coherent
Others junk
Let me focus in on you

Your strength
Your struggle
Your sacrifice
Your pain

The conversations we had
The time we shared
All flicker like the flame of a candle
As it glows in the dark


Then the silence is cut
By the chill in my bone
A strong sensation
That I’m not alone

I was scared at first
But from fright it went calm
By the feeling, the tingle
A hug that’s long gone

Just like it was on purpose
The phone screams on its base
When I looked at the ID
The color left my face

“Dear Old Dad”

Snatched the phone
Like a bullet, no lie
Put the receiver to my face
Sheepishly, I said “Hi”

Inside I know it’s a lie
Just a trick of the brain
How could it be anything else?

“Is this my little girl?
If so, I need a ride.”
With that my stomach filled
One hundred butterflies inside

“Dad, is that you?”
Not knowing what I’d hear
Then with a laugh
“Of course, my dear”

“I need a ride, my girl
I can even pay
God let me out of hoeaven
But only for a day”

I run to the car
Pull it out of the drive
The smile I have
Impossible to hide

I drive until I see a light
That’s blinding me
I push forward for I know
Beyond that the man I long to see

I drive and I drive and just like that
I’m at the pearly gate
Excitement sets in
And I start to shake

I’ve waited so long
To have this day
Now I can se ehim
Here’s what I’ll say…