I HAD A FATHER

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Father’s Day was unknown to me when I was a child. All I knew was that my father’s smile never wavered and that I adored him.

Here is an old, old photo of my parents when I was just a few months old. Unfortunately the only picture I had with my father vanished, I don’t know how. But there are many memories to treasure.

 

 

When I was young and had a father

like any other child… I

clutched his hand.  Walked

by his side.  Hung on his smile

watched the crow’s feet fan out

from the ends of his eyes.

Felt love

a velvet cushion

a tight roof against the rain

a warm hand to hold

and melt the ice of fear

But one day—

the roof blew off

the hand grew cold

and nothing was left

but leafless trees

stretching wan fingers

that tore at my hair

as I walked through the darkness.  The bell

tolling in my ears constant…insistent.

The moon, a dented globe.

Washed out, spreading

rancid, milky light

that filled my mouth with sourness.

I heard the sound of weeping

and wailing.

White walls of grief

arose about me

smelt fresh earth

felt the horror of

clods

hitting him.  Boxed in wood

lifeless, true.  But I shuddered

to think of the clods hitting him.

Later, woke on my own, nights

airless, feeling the weight of the earth

squeeze out my breath

engulf, absorb me into itself

Earth, mother

what makes you so hungry

so desperate to swallow me whole?

Digest, ingest

make me a part of you again?

I that would walk on air

and water.

Resist your pull

live on forever

freely riding the wind.  Not

bogged down in earth bound clay.

Live till the day when

the grave will empty

and he, they, will come forth whole again

when mud, when clod

will yield forth

flesh and blood

bone and hair

breath and laughter.

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