In praise of dead fathers,

the clarity of their absence.

Does enough of you remain
to shoulder the dulled implement,
excavate some shard of horror
at your disappeared life?

No.

Your fluid, nimble brain has
gone porous and brittle,
and what can you see
in the attenuating dark?

This is you now, slumped
in the wheel chair,
confused and compliant,
a good day defined

by the eggs served
warm, the aides’
prompt response to
the latest soiling.

I would never want to live like that,
you said years ago.

Emphatic.

Now you are a shell and
I, a monster, angry
you did not refuse the cruelty
of sustenance when

you knew how, angry
you did not leave me
something to admire.

Today I will pretend
you are still here:
present the card
and gift, leave

praising dead fathers,
the clarity of their absence.

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4 comments

  1. Oh, Cate! I have lived this, too. Take care, my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Bob. An unpleasant chapter in the lives of too many modern American families …

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Ouch! Take care first of self … This is a vivid telling of a too-frequent tragedy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Agreed. Thanks for the good wishes, Jazz.

      Liked by 2 people

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