fingers through my hair

mother used to shoo me off to bed
when my oversized ears
became hot and red –
she saw through her bookwork
and told me i was overtired.

my mother was a perceptive and wise woman.

father used to hold me in his lap
and run his fingers
through my burning red hair
at night on the porch in the old rocking chair,
watching parades of shooting stars
while he smoked his sherlock pipe
cracked peanuts and drank olympia
with his other hand,
he told me truths and fables
between puffs, sips, bites.

my father was an insightful and wise man.

Today they tell me to write
For an hour every morning
Before eating a filling breakfast.

They are still shrewd and wise.

I still appreciate
Truths, fables, practical signs of life,
The beauty of a starlit night,

and having fingers run through my hair.

© 1995, Martin C. Fredricks IV

First published in the Fall 1995 edition of “Reflections,” a quarterly by Wordshop Publications in Conway, Ark.

Featured image by Javier Esteban via

Categories: Poems

Martin C. Fredricks IV

Martin C. “Red” Fredricks IV here. I’m husband to an amazing woman who is also my best friend, dad to three outstanding kids, Fargoan (North Dakota, that is), proud introvert, veteran messaging strategist/copywriter, blogger ( nonprofit founder ( and big-time reader. As they say, if you're gonna write good stuff, you have to read good stuff. A ginger, too - ergo the "Red" - although some of it's going white. Cinnamon-Sugar, I call it. Tattooed to boot; seven so far. At age 54, I'm stilling crankin' AC/DC & Metallica, but now and again I spin some Eric Church and Black Uhuru, too. I love hanging out with my (much) better half, spending time with our kids, writing, hiking, riding my mountain bike and reading.


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