Saturday, June 14, 2014

Headline Poem 6/14/14 -- Father's Day Part 1

My daddy Will and I, 1980
Tomorrow is Father's Day. It is not a hard day. It is not an easy day. It is a changing day for me, as I learn and grow. Tonight's poem is inspired by this holiday, and a few of my own memories. I decided it belongs to be put into two parts. Here is Part 1.

Father's Day Part 1

When I was four my childhood consisted of
travel and adventure and two parents in love.
There were no wheelchairs, or diseases,
my daddy had all of his hair,
and floated around his veterinary hospital
on his magic, spinning chairs.

When I was five I started to learn new words
like cancer and Scripps and chemotherapy,
began to recognize that something was happening,
to my family,
though I didn't know what.

I was a baby then, as my daughter is now.
Wise beyond life years, but fragile and unclear.
A juniper tree with roots deep,
Strong and courageous,
but unable to see
beyond me.

When the hospital bed came home with my daddy, I was confused.
He was so strong. That is not something he needs to use.
Why was his own bed, that he shared with my mom,
no longer enough?
Why couldn't we run and jump under the covers to play rough?
He was a doctor. He fixed animals. He could lift up
our entire house.
I acted out,
and threatened to run away. I wanted to make him get up out of bed,
and begged for him to brush my hair (even if it would look bad).
I felt him slipping away.

I watched her cry, and wondered if it was because she knew
he'd never be able to be a daddy to me and you,
and that our days of wrestling on the floor
would come no more,
that our time together was ending, and that was going to be it.
I'd have a daddy until the age of six.
There was nothing I could do.

Age six buried itself under my skin.
I've kept in there for safe keepings,
like a treasure, like a bone -- sweet and savory, and all mine.
A place for me to go
when I want to sit and chew and think and be alone
and then re-bury it in soft dirt.
Thirty-one years later,
I am digging it up in remarkable ways. I am moving it, and licking it,
and throwing it around.
But I refuse to ever put it back in the ground.
It's on the surface now for me to share and display.
It's not a bad thing.
For this age of six,
is beautiful and free,
and I'm learning to embrace this
little piece of me.