Friday, November 24, 2006

Only Satan will tell you, son,
The truth about your dad:
That your growing up also was a torment;
And he wept on your birthdays after you went to sleep.

At every turn in the stairs
He paused and looked down the well
And saw your face of a year before,
Looking up at him, the boy-who-was,
Who was gone.

He loves the young man who stands before him.
But the smaller version -- he loved that boy, too,
And he had vowed to be father to him to the end,
But he vanished so slowly your father never saw him go,
Never noticed he was missing; the parent's nightmare.

And every turn took you closer to 12 or 14 --
The age you saw dad as just another man, flawed,
And you began to cast off the ropes to be yourself.

No, he never stops feeling like your father,
And he never stops loving you like his son,
But there it is; the truth no parent ever will tell.
No more little boy reaches up to hold a hand,
Or looks at dad with laughter in his eyes when dad laughs himself,
Or lets his father quietly settle a stuffed animal more closely
Against a boy's cheek
While he sleeps, hot and growing every second.