Abandon · Poetry · Writing

You Were (12.14.17)

An unconventionally-stylized poem, inspired by my late father. For better or for worse.

You were fractured by your life and
Barely held together by
An invisible outer layer like
Tempered glass but icier

With all of your sharp edges
Still in evidence in
The way you talked,
The way you walked, and
The slap of your open hand.

Your fractured edges had consequences
For everybody around you, and
For you but you were blinded.

Your harsh words, like
Razors sliced me open
Again and again
Leaving fractals of fractures behind, like
Empty brown glass bottles resting
Quiet on the kitchen floor, or
Frost spread beautiful, on an icy window

Liked webbed glass or
The buck knife that broke the camel’s back
You broke me and
Then you left, bequeathing
To me my own sharp edges to
Defend against the world which
Was surely out to get me.
Just like it was out to get you, too.

You left me, permanently then, with no closure, and
Only what you left behind as
Clues to your existence and
Who was the real you, Dad?
The saint everyone speaks of who
Lent a helping hand or
The man who says to a five-year-old
I may not like you but I’ll always love you”?
Is it possible to be both and
Hold those contradictions dear?

Misconceptions, assumptions, illusions abound.
I dragged what was left of you around
For seven years before,
I finally decided to let it, and you, go.
I had to move on, closure or no.

I found your surrender, then,
It lay in the bottom of a box, rough edges, smooth center,
Blue initials J-E-H, carved irritably by the tip of
A fading ball point pen, I imagine you
Writing your thoughts, scratching the chip,
Writing your thoughts, scratching the chip,
And so it goes. And so it went.

Perspective, Corrective edits, Regrets abound.
If I can learn to forgive you, then
I can learn to forgive me too.




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