Father, Teacher

“So, this is it...” says my dad from the hall outside my dorm room.

The words hang like a streamer spanning the width of my door frame

separating college on one side from my childhood on the other,

Today he leaves me here;

And I’m scared that I’m on the wrong side.

I look at the door frame

– really anywhere other than my dad’s teary eyes will do –

and think: “that door isn’t mine.”

The frame is missing the marks on one side where my mom used to scribble my height every year on my birthday,

and the room is missing her warmth because this dorm isn’t home.

“Not yet,” I try to convince myself,

But believing is hard.

Because even after we’ve filled it with my things,

after we’d hung our goodbyes on the walls with thumbtacks into my heart

vacuumed “I love you’s” into the carpet

and dusted our disagreements off the desk,

This place doesn’t feel like home.

It hasn’t for the long seconds since my dad passed through that door frame that isn’t mine,

turned to face me with pretenses to stay a minute longer

and hung empty words like a streamer across the width of the entrance to my adult life.

“You are an adult now, son” he finishes;

but there,in the shadow of the greatest man I know,

I have never felt more like a child.


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