Over the years, I’ve written extensively about my fathers (the man who left his wife and two small sons, and the man who married my mother some years later). This particular poem is about the former. As far as I know, he’s still alive. I haven’t laid eyes on him in over forty years. Such a strange thought.
Were we to meet, what would I say to him? I’ve run through so many scenarios. I think I would try to get to know him and, of course, ask what led to his decision to not only walk away from his wife but to cut himself out of his children’s lives. I doubt I’ll ever get such a chance, but one never knows.
Eating his kidney pie and asphalt,
the man who claims to be my father
aks if there’s a reward for finding himself.
I pour us both more blood. I’m the reward,
I want to say, but I can’t speak, as always
happens in these ceaseless nightmares.
“Pity,” the man says and wipes his mouth
on virginal flesh flown in specially from Rome.
Around us, insects tell each other parables.
He walks away, singing an Elvis song.
I try to follow, only to discover my bones
have shattered in a painless explosion.
I collapse to the floor and try to say
I’m right here, you don’t have to leave,
but all I can do is watch and pray to wake.