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Diana Raab "Father's Obsessions"

Father’s Obsessions


Diner breakfasts with their dime juke boxes,

one-hour coughing spells after half-smoked cigarettes,

thinly layered on pumpernickel cream cheese, 

runny cherry pie, its two full scoops 

of vanilla ice cream, not far from

his bright pink Chevrolet that matched 

the cherry blossom tree on our front lawn,

paired with house shingles on our 

two-story suburban home, the one he painted 

the year I was born—


and all this painted on my genetics, even 

his mother’s recipes passed down, how

each time I eat fish filets, his face 

bursts before me, the smell of bagel stores, my

youth remembrances like the strongest memory 

of his mother’s kitchen’s vanilla pudding 

with film, his sweet disgust

for vegetables except for beets

shredded in homemade borscht soup, its

dollop of sour cream in the middle

like a kiss, or potato salad, creamy, finely mashed 

potatoes, no chunks but for a day’s chopped liver 

weighted with onions floating

in butter filet of sole before the evening’s 

news in bed, that large sixteen-inch tele 

and its loving color, what doesn’t

matter anymore for his daughter...


So happy he was, to have a daughter, 

she who now, sixty years later serves her own

family cherry pie topped with organic 

vanilla ice cream— the memory of 

our drive,  Sunday morning, for hot bagels,

cheese pastries, and the afternoon Ranger games 

always followed by those weekly lottery tickets 

he swore would change his life forever.

Then he died,

his contagious smile, gratitude-glowing 

green eyes for the small things ––

where my memory of him, 

carved into a cancerous landscape,

nearly kills me as five years 

in Dachau could have done the same 

to him––yes,  my father, the first man 

I ever loved, and who reminds me

why we are hungry.

Bio: Diana Raab, PhD is a poet, memoirist, blogger, and award-winning author of ten books, including four poetry collections, including her latest, Lust. She blogs for Psychology TodayThe Wisdom Daily, Thrive Global and many others. Her most recent nonfiction book is Writing for Bliss. She teaches workshops on writing for healing and transformation. Her poetry chapbook, “An Imaginary Affair,” is forthcoming by Finishing Line Press (2022). Visit:

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