Father’s Day at the MoMA, 2021

by Madeleine Beckman

At the Cézanne exhibit – I cried
looking at his drawings, reading
Cézanne drew every day.
He made pencil and paper breathe
the way you could – while waiting for me
to emerge from ballet class
quickly sketching on a restaurant napkin.

Some of Cézanne’s work in the exhibit
wasn’t good, he had failures too.
We need failures as well as brilliance
it’s all part of the pitted road
of creating.

When I was distressed or depressed
during the few fatherly moments shared
long distance on the phone    you’d remind:
“Get lost in your work”      knowing so well
that bringing something from nothing to life
is ballast        keeps us from going under.