This is not your traditional Father’s Day poem. This poem is for those who grew up in a single parent household without their fathers. It is not a celebration of mom as father. It is not condemnation of the father who was not there. It is a letter that I had to write to myself. I had to learn to reach out although everything inside of me says that this is not for me to do, it’s for him. This is for all of those who are trying to figure this out.
At this point,
I’m beginning to open.
I can’t bring certain questions
into my mouth. I’ll write them.
You are growing old:
Gray hair, thick stomach, hands without elastic,
I’m teaching myself to hear you, see you.
I don’t know how you run:
Short strides, long strides, on your toes,
or did you use the whole foot to push you forward?
I can imagine you walking.
I can see you walking, your shoulders square,
neck leaning like your head hurt,
a slight twitch and sweep of the heels
on grass, concrete.
I know what you look like from a distance.
Your walking eyes though,
I don’t know them.
At this point I’m beginning to open.
I expect your calls every Sunday.
I get the phone and attempt to call you,
but I still think this is your job.
I have no 3 year old to 18 year old memories of you.
When you call to speak, like we haven’t been apart,
my wife touches my shoulder and sits my son on my lap.
He knows me, calms me. He can make me smile.
I know death is near you.
The telephone is your lap.
I’m hearing you.
I’m 3 years old.