i never again want to wake up and find
that someone else has gone in the night.
when i was 8, my father’s body decided
it was no longer vital, so it stopped
giving him signs, instead, a fistfight
he didn’t survive. i only ever succeeded
in burying him at the back of my mind.
at 16, when my brother drives home
at midnight, i fear a car crash,
i fear him closing his eyes, so i never do.
i don’t want him to be awake late alone,
so i sit up in bed until he gets home.
i can sleep when i’m dead, but neither of us
is ready for that yet.
are my architect, for when it felt like
our world had ended, it was you who stood
to save us from the wreckage,
from all the nothing that came of everything
our father built. it was you who stirred the dust,
who laid the floor on which we found our footing,
you who built the bridge from his life
and what came after.
faded from our days like a distant figure
through a window in the rain;
i am your bad weather daughter,
no umbrellas and too much water.
you are the only man i’ll always care for
that i’ll never truly know. your strength
is your legacy and your boy
is my hero.
i should stop looking for you in the storm front
and instead at him in the mirror.
he is his father’s son, and the best of us.
he bears your mantle like a man,
but is still 12 like when you left us.
since then, i have always found you in him,
because the thing about loving a dead man is
you never truly bury him.