I don’t know where my father rests.
With no understanding he signed a form,
And when all breath left his breast
All had vanished, his body still warm.
His parents’ house. The family car.
His favourite books. A baby spoon.
His cribbage board, the well-stocked bar.
The TV set. His vinyl tunes.
She took the lot and sold it all
Folded the money and drove away.
Without a word, She left a pall,
Not a thought for her unwitting prey.
By the time we heard that he was gone
There was nothing for us to put flowers on.
I’ll tell you now what you want to know
only lay your head in my lap first
and I will brush my fingers through your hair
while I tell you the story of why we are
who we are and why you are who you are
born into a whirlwind, your mother
a bundle of cautions, and your father
still trying to wrap up his own childhood
I had always wanted to be a painter
or a rock-and-roll singer
someone like Janis Joplin, leaving
her heart on the floor every night
and I’d sing in the bathroom, with
a hairbrush for a microphone
I wasn’t blessed with that talent
with a throat that could create a masterpiece
I’m no Kathleen Battle or Renée Fleming
I am not Billie Holiday
I am that songbird outside your window
that does not shut up when you first wake
the one that gets in the last word
Blessed with words in my mouth from day one
I’ve learned to give them away
give the world something back
that it gives to me every time I open a book
or turn on the radio
each time I sit in a concert hall
how often in the museum
do I sit down in awe
We all are given something, and this is mine
to tell you about your Father in Heaven
though I am not worthy to truly paint Him
I have faith that I will see him when I am done here
I have a voice to express my love to you
fully and completely
and perhaps if I am really lucky
to spread some words across the land
I have gifts in hand
I must give them away
and if I am very lucky
and I pay attention to the wind
when it blows
I might just get some of them back
The term ‘lone wolf’ is a misnomer. It is coyotes that rarely run in packs, and often hunt alone, around the clock. Yesterday I spoke to my brother on the telephone. He is older than I, and I have always looked to up to him, even when the facts told me not to. It was something that became part of me when I was a child. We were both abused by our father, and our mother loved us, but she did not defend us. Some would say that is not real love, but time and age have brought me to an understanding of different kinds of love, and people’s limitations, even our parents, whom we expect the most from. But that is not what I wanted to talk about. I wanted to talk about a connection between siblings who have been through the war together…