Writing About My Father, Day 24
I woke up thinking “There is grief here and something difficult to hold.” Poetry is the cruelest of tongues, the way it casually articulates what’s beyond speech then crows about its triumph. The quote is a line from a poem I wrote about a love affair I’ve never had but the man I held in my head as I wrote it is a man I would have liked to kiss if I didn’t find him so terrifying. Because he was a man. And talented. And tall. This morning my friend wrote about the line between fathers and would-be lovers, how indistinct it is. In another poem, I wrote, “Isn’t that what we want from our fathers/That they are the most tender,/most considerate of lovers?” I am not sure where my father belongs to me? Am I writing again about a man who I hold only in my head. My father and I reach to each other and all we can grab is sand. My father multiplies in me like cancer, the ache and absence of him. “Should have known it/would take a neon/walk down a weeping/street//to shape my tongue/round What I’ve/been missing…” And the father too glows like neon, like a UFO stranded in a landscape of pillow and blanket and mucus and bile. And my tongue furiously fingerspells. And the hands, empty, useless, try to keep up.