Need a picture for the obit

In their wedding photos,

my mother resembles a doll of herself,

painted and straw-thin in tablecloth lace,

while my father looks like a movie star of the era —

Easter blue suit and high coif, cut glass cheekbones,

handsome bordering on the absurd. I’d never

seen these pictures before. My mother

recounted her dogged, starry-eyed pursuit.

Here is where I’m supposed to say

I was surprised, describe the old man I grew up with,

the ragged husk at the end. Except

even the anesthesiologist felt terrible

for the teenage swim captain

cut down in his prime, misunderstood

the swarm of young women in the surgical hall.

As his three grown daughters

contrived a six-handed way to lift his wheelchair,

as we raised him over our heads,

our father looked like a garlanded boy-king. 

Kim Fu’s debut poetry collection How Festive the Ambulance was published with Nightwood Editions in spring 2016. Her novel For Today I Am a Boy (HarperCollins, 2014) was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award, winner of the Edmund White Award, a New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice, and long-listed for Canada Reads. She lives in Seattle.