When your dad commits suicide
you go numb, you flee
the silence of good intentions, of friend’s
eyes wandering the outskirts
of your face. When your dad
dies before you can tie your shoes
you write a new narrative
inked in the folds of your brain
you wish for him
to reappear, to fall out of a newspaper
to notice you on a crowded street.
When absence is replaced by the movement of air
as doors swing wide with people
entering your house
you seek small spaces
the darkness inside a bathroom cabinet
the relief beneath a bed
dusty slats and springs
a shelter against the voices and footsteps
echoing on the fragile floors.
As you age, as the pulse of anger
keeps you awake at night, as rough-edged
questions choke your throat
you escape into stories
with a thousand pulp heroes to stand by your side
as rocket ships punch through space
stars swirling in their wake
but most importantly, you hold
onto your own story and begin to revise.
By now his face is blurred.
There is light, a soft fiction
that frames the fading details.
He steps from the crowd and reaches
down to surround your body—
feel his hands hold the slender curves
of your ribs as the pressure pushes
bones against lungs, a release
of breath that clings to the rasp of his beard
against the soft of your cheek.
He carries you, arm under butt,
face cradled into a shirt collar,
back to the home you left behind
hundreds of miles across the state
the home with its curtains
billowing bright as the day.
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