In that album, its like you never existed at all
I was born and lived fatherless
You were a slip of paper with my date of birth and a name
No picture except in my sisters baby book
“Sweet Baby Days” stamped on the cover
She had a picture and a poem to boot
I was so jealous.
I was taught to hate you
To curse the name you left me with
“Some junkie”, they told me, “Some junkie who dumped your mother
because you were a girl
Not a boy”
I bore the indelible stamp of a child rejected by its parents
She blamed me, you know
Said if I’d been a son I’d have been named after you
Instead I only disappointed and received a borrowed name
Hastily agreed upon and meant to complement my sister’s
And you, Father of the shining golden hair,
Musician handed and scribbling sonnets to the child you loved
Sauntered away like some phantom bard
Leaving me to do penance for your sins
Until I was just a ghost myself
Three decades passed when I, Pilgrim-souled,
prayed at the shrine of electronic memory
And sacrificing the hearts of man to the chacmool maw of you
I found you and called you home
My father at last
You told me your truths
I compared both sides and found them wanting
But fallacy’s twin could not faze me
I filled in the gaps:
Once I was loved.
Once I had unbroken bones and the only hands that touched me
Did so with gentleness and hope
Once, Daddy, once
You argued and she argued and
your myths were as irish as hers
Once upon a time, though
You both loved me
You said you were sick
I pressed my ear to your thin chest
Your heart like a thread unraveling there
What possessed you to name me after fire, Father?
See how I scorch the earth.
Daddy, you’re ashes.
I’ll never find you again.