Room 707: The Last Time I Saw My Father

In advance of Fathers Day, a poem by Benedictine College Great Books professor, Dr. Edward Mulholland. This poem was written shortly before his father, Henry Mulholland, a longtime resident of Garden City, N.Y., died in Stuart, Florida, on June 7, 2017, at the age of 78. Henry was a devoted father to his five children and grandfather to 27.

Room 707

In a wheelchair in the hallway
Amid nurses in purple scrubs
His lilting Irish song snippets
Greeted passersby. His blanket,

N.Y. Giant fleece in Florida heat,
Was curled on legs now thin as arms
Which once stood strong at six-foot-two
But not since March. And it was May.

He thought the spoonfuls of turkey
I fed him in baby pieces
Were hilarious, but then he
Was full after three. Halting words,

Heaved in shrapnel shards, detritus from
Shattered memory mosaics,
Their only sense grammatical,
Replied that he was doing fine.

He craned his neck to call Aunt Peg,
Long dead, there on the small sofa.
And as always, more than ever,
My welled up eager beggar’s eyes

Sought Dad’s look of recognition.

This poem originally appeared at Aleteia.

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Edward Mulholland

Dr. Edward Mulholland has for more than a decade been an Associate Professor of Classical Languages at Benedictine College where he co-directs the program: Great Books: The True, the Good and the Beautiful. Born in the Bronx, New York, he earned his master’s degree in classics from the University of London, England, and received both a licentiate and a Ph.D. in philosophy from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. From 1996-1998 he served as the head of the Humanities Department and the dean of the Journalism School at the Centro Universitario Francisco de Vitoria in Madrid, Spain. From 1998-2005, he was Professor of Philosophy at Our Lady of Thornwood Education and Training Center in Thornwood, New York and Professor of Classical Languages at the Center of Humanities in Cheshire, Connecticut. From 2005-2011 he headed the Departments of Catholic Formation and Classical Languages at Pinecrest Academy in Atlanta, Georgia.