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For my dad.




Can we make up for the time lost?

You hand me the dirty kitchen towel which you used while making us dinner, and now it’s held by your gnarled old hand, where a long time ago in the military you almost blew your thumb off. My hands pale in comparison, thin skin, and the veins always sticking out so sickly.

The reward of being close to you, of being so vulnerable and all exposed is that of you handing me dirty towels in a worn kitchen last redone in the 70s. I sit and I cry and I cry, and I just don’t do anything else. Damn this.

Can I make up for the things my mother told me to think about you?

You come around in your time, from the garden where you have been all day, tearing out weeds. If I were to be 5 again, running through the high grass and beneath garland shapes, flowers hanging everywhere and there you are at the stone stairs picking wild strawberries for me. With your already then aged, gnarled hand.

Somewhere deep within me, when I think about you, something so sore breaks me open. And I cry again, into dirty kitchen towels.

Can I ever do you justice by words?

You have never tucked me in. I think back, and I cannot remember a single time when you have completely intruded on my boundaries and taken over my land of life, leading me instead of letting me lead myself. All you have granted me is the love of the one you love, with heart, bone and soul. She never did have children of her own, and in her eyes there has been a strong and vindictive belief of holding values high. I have not suffered from the silent yearning whispering ever mutely between her and I, and you have been correct in showing me this. The ties grown in this garden have been deeper than rivers of blood, stronger than the memory of skin. I am your only flesh, and not of her, but through the two of you, I have seen the only unity that is stronger than life.

Will I let myself be forgiven?

Knowing I have returned to you and seeing your still bright eyes filled with the knowledge of all the years you were not allowed to hold me, you finally can. We are cast gently into a sea, where we find the way back to another, and there I find a place for me in your heart. I dust the cobwebs off the framed photos, I touch the books from before my time and from the window where I always like to sit and gaze out at the rain I can see you coming up the stone stairs. Your world is full of flowers, beauty and transcendence.

With your gnarled old hand, you wipe away my tears.

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