dirge for daddy
reflecting on my father’s passing
my face contains u like a tomb.
in my memory’s labyrinth, u lurk
a mirthful ogre whose laughter steals
attention from the wounds u caused.
now that u are gone, some of the veils
are rent. u stand a family monument
tall & tragic. a mountain wherein
god, a cloistered monk
despaired the practice of his preachments.
as i child i adored u. would pierce
yr shadow. be wide-eyed & underfoot
when u fell from grace.
in my innocence, i’d provoke yr terrible
wrath. the muscles in my back still sing
sagas of yr punishment.
perhaps u only meant to thicken my skin.
were i an existentialist, i’d find u
easy to condemn, judging u against the
sum of yr violence.
but i who live in a prison of motives
saw easily through yrs. u are betrayed
an unwitting foil in my life’s drama.
i will not blame u for my creations
my ineptness at loving, or for the walls
within my chest which hold my captive.
i only wish to think of u warmly.
© Joseph McNair; 1990-2009