A poem for my father

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It’s been a while since I posted any poetry on here, and today seems a good day to change that.  This is a poem for my father, whom I will always carry in my heart, no matter how many years go by or miles I travel.  Daddy, I love you.

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Father,
hidden in the nighttime shadows of this present world
are you watching me?
can you hear the tremor in my voice? 

Do you remember that cold winter morning
you called a taxi to take me the mile to school?
while others sent children trudging through mountains of snow in search of that brick schoolhouse
you ordered up a taxi—delivered on a silver platter
an absurd luxury in our tiny town of 9,000.
And I knew your love.

I miss that confidence—
love as tangible as bricks and mortar
or your hand in mine
sweeping me into your arms as you
killed the mouse
calmed the fears
sang me asleep every night with your magic charm
            “Good night,
            sleep tight,
            don’t let the bed bugs bite.”
As if I could fear bed bugs with a champion sleeping down the hall. 

Do you remember that cursed night you first knew?
I hope not.
I hope it is wiped forever clean from your memory.
That night our world changed,
I’ve never known such fear. 

There are so many things I want to tell you . . .
how thankful I am for the years we had together
how sorry I am for all the ways I failed you 

If I could go back to that night
I swear I’d do it differently
our last chance to be together
I chose myself over you
I swear, if I could do it again . . . 

But there are no do-overs when it comes to death.

Do you watch us from the shadows?
This lost family you left behind
or is it too painful? 

Can you hear me cry out for you when I think no one is listening?
longing for a shiny, yellow taxi to come deliver me to you
Father.

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