When I faced you
daughter to father, in the kitchen
I felt taller than you
just like I did as a teen
when I lept for you down the stairwell
and when I threw my hands
around your neck, near the pear tree.
I never meant to hurt you
Even though that was exactly my intent.
As the years have passed
and the strength within us both
has diminished, my anger has turned
to sorrow, not so much for my actions
but for the giant pain in this life
that seems to have left
no other way, but to anger, and defend.
Bing Crosby plays in my ears
as your low voice resounds against the walls
at Christmas, and on Sunday afternoons, trying their best
to absorb whatever joy they could.
Your hair is so much lighter now,
your large body more round, less firm.
I watched you slice tiny shrimp into pieces
at the third birthday luncheon for my son.
I know you’re afraid, and I wish you weren’t
so fearful of the death we all know is coming.
Your own father dying as he choked
on some trivial piece of food from a recliner
in his living room, his wife and son bearing witness
fighting against the truth of that moment.
Why must we always push back at
reality that is before us? Me, you, all of us
in struggle against the harsh reality we see.