Father

I wrote this poem about my relationship with my father a long time ago, but I always return to it like a homeless wanderer returning to his ole home town.

 

I miss the way we’d hold hands

At night

As you dreamt of your pilot days

And restless pride.

I held your thick fingers

And you cupped my li’l hand inside yours.

 

O Father, why now do you forsake me?

Why only in my dreams do you hold me?

Can’t you see the islands of love in my arms to hold?

 

Dream a lil dream

Of me forever young

Sitting on your lap

Gripping the steering wheel

Taking a spin around the block

(my fondest memory).

I’d brag to all my friends —

My feet were too short to reach the pedals,

But you were brave enough

To reach for the road that hadn’t yet found us.

 

I wanted to be strong.

O God, why do I feel this way?

Was it my wrong?

Did I let him down again?

Or were his expectations self-addressed

Due to his father’s non-relinquished tenderness?

 

Could I make a difference?

Or is it just the same

As if I surrendered my wings to the wind

Giving up on this grievous game?

 

Am I insane to allow so much pain

Or to foster the overextended visit of my ole friend regret?

Will my children be the same way?

What’f I overcome my fears of a lifetime in a single day?

 

Not my kids.

It stops with me!

They’ll fail to know this continuous bleed

Because I talk to the rain

And plant my own seed.

 

In torment, I see

What’ll one day be

As leaves fall from my heart’s tree.

O Daddy, don’t go.

Please, don’t die.

I remember how you’d do all the li’l things

Other fathers wouldn’t try.

 

By the way,

I have something to say,

I was your secret admirer

And you were my best friend.”

 

[ . . . ]

 

The opportunity is now gone.

A day late.

A poem short.

Make me proud, Pop,

And make room for me in God’s fort.

Maybe in good time

Or possibly real soon,

We can take another spin around the block

As lil boy blue and the man in the moon.

Chester Delagneau

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