I sigh in feeling like I am talking to you,
Like things could be normal
Confessing the fear I felt for you.
Followed by the warmth encapsulating my cold shattered heart with
The love I felt for you.
You cry and I watch,
with knots in my stomach -
naive in my language,
to be ‘that girl’ of ‘that father.’ Afraid.
How did I think like that?
While you were drowning, weights glued to your ankles
Gasping for air as water filled your
Smoke ridden lungs
Crumbling into a thousand pieces
Like the china in your mother’s cherry wood cabinet
Like the security of a woman when she notices a man walking briskly towards her. Broken.
You never told me I was selfish, why didn’t you say something?
I still am and I always will be - selfish. Stuck in the thought of you leaving
I was scared to lose you, did that creep into your mind between the thoughts of me hating you?
I lost you and life continued flowing.
Flowing like the sea, the lake, the river, and now I was the one who was drowning
With your weight tacked onto my back like an itch that isn’t satisfied
Creeping on my shoulders until my knees buckle and I lay face to face with you. Numb.
I lay face down in the water, to numb to scream, cry, or fight
so I smiled through my fear, for you, because in the end you wouldn’t want to see your little girl cry
Then I saw your eyes,
blue as the water lighting up with the sun, a color that felt like childhood swing sets
And wind in my crimson curled hair
Now, the blue had sunken into the pits of your stomach that I thought I could feel it too
A color that looked like emptiness, like the time my kitten slept forever in my arms
Do you remember that?
How many more times should I apologize? Angry.
Listen I can't say much more, okay?
I am sorry that you lost your love, that suffocating love
The one that you fought for- would it make you feel better if I said she wasn’t doing well
Of course it wouldn’t, you are kind.
I miss you, and the kind heart kindled like a fire in your chest
Your raw exposure, a you I’d rarely seen- so stoic, you were
You did not love yourself
Why couldn’t you have just loved yourself? Frustration.
You should’ve been selfish, I could have taught you
I could have taught you how to kick your feet up and close out the world
And build a life like the one I have now
I am happy. I think.
One last thing-
I am sorry that you were so selfless,
giving the shirt off your back and the shoes of your feet, the beat of your heart
But know, I felt all of it. I still feel all of it. Love.
You have taught me more in death than I imagined, however angry and furious and numb,
I learn for you. And I hope you are listening, dad.