I felt taller than you [poem]

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.