Letter to Dad

08/04/2010 § Leave a comment

I wrote you a letter.
I keep it with me always
thinking I’ll send it to you
one day, when I’ve figured out
all that I’ve done wrong
the failure I’ve become.

I imagine your face
by looking at my reflection
& in my reflection
you are always about to cry–

Why is that?

You remember the ashtray
that shattered against Mom’s head
like a glass grenade?
All through that night
as you slept drunk on the sofa
she stifled her sobbing & swept the floor
lest her children should cut themselves
on the jagged ruins of her marriage.

You gave me life
& for good measure
branded me like a cattle for slaughter
as if you had the right
as if I deserved no better

Well, you’ll be proud
to know I’m surviving
surviving daily
surviving barely
finding what comfort I can get
in a language not my own.

& it hurts,
every word in this poem
is a wound I’ve dug up
looking for you beneath my skin
& I don’t know
how much longer I can hold on,
trying to fix myself & failing
love myself & hating
burying myself a little deeper
each day.

I’m a real freak, Dad
when I try to picture
a family of my own,
a wife, two kids, house
in the suburbs—
everyone’s unhappy.
even the dog , a black Labrador,
knows I don’t belong
in the picture.

I’m a real freak, Dad
I’m a 21st century Frankenstein
merely glued together in the joints
not quite right in the head

This is your handiwork
Dad,
your masterpiece.
you broke me good
you broke me so good
& I applaud your success,
my sorry providence,

well
done.

(Fall 2010)

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