Just This

My grandfather did not fight
in WWII, as he worked developing
radar for the Navy

Until he came home different
one day, and was taken away
for shock treatments and lithium.

My father did not fight
in Vietnam, as he was a young
scholar with a family

Until he left home one day
without explanation, exiled
himself from doing harm.

I did not fight in the covert
and distant wars of my day
as I fumbled at fathering.

But I did stay. I grew along
with my sons and broke
the cycle. That was something.

Michael Favala Goldman (b.1966) is a poet, a jazz clarinetist, and a widely-published translator of Danish literature. Over 140 of his translations and poems have appeared in literary journals. Among his fifteen translated books are The Water Farm Trilogy by Cecil Bødker, Dependency by Tove Ditlevsen (a Penguin Classic), and Something To Live Up To—Selected Poems of Benny Andersen. His first book of original poetry, Who has time for this? was published in 2020. He lives in Northampton, MA, where he has been running bi-monthly poetry critique groups since 2018. www.hammerandhorn.net.