Father

My father was a great man
Or so they tell me
I can't really remember him
Just scenes like from a movie you saw as a kid
I was just four when he died
When he fell, when he departed, when his life was ripped from him
By unyielding gravity on that narrow concrete path
Suddenly
Like a descent from heaven to mortality
Suddenly

He sure had a temper, my father
He could yell so damn loud
Your ears would ring and he didn't stop
Not until you started to cry

He died mad.
I wonder if he had time to be frightened

He always had the best intentions under his rage
Like mother when she beat me with that boar bristle brush
Crying because I made her do it
It was me who made him mad
He died mad at us for being so incompetent
For needing his help

Such a handsome man was he
I never stood a chance to emulate him
He was the saint in our house all the time I was growing up
He was the reason and the example held up before me
Like some precious icon stand-in for a father
The presence from the grave watching me fail

And when our mother died, we had her ashes flown
To be buried beside him, our father who was with us
Every day until she died and then they were both gone
Our dear and departed parents
Who loved us so much every day they lived

So now we're getting older
Nearer day by day, mother
Closer every week, father

I love you, I know I do, but I don't know why
I wanted to be you, but it can never be
It isn't me, never was, never

So I make my peace dear father, dear mother
Knowing at last that it is me that has to make me special
(like it's some deep revelation!)
Not my father, not my mother, not my country, not my education
Not what I do, not what I write, not what I think
Not my gender
Just me, just your child
All alone, daddy

2010

creative commons