Father Hunting #1

Father Hunting is a series of 9 poems written in the first person, and chronicles a son’s search for a father who left him when he was a child, and never returned.  It is a story of dealing with loss, abandonment and over many decades, discovery.  It is coming to terms with life as it is, not what  it could have been if only.  It is searching for something that never really was there in the first place, and overcoming the loss of love through the son becoming the father.

 

Photo by John Thomas Dodds

Photo by John Thomas Dodds

 

In the village of my child

I knew the schedules of muddiggers,

fishing tugs and trains

all my fathers were Captains and Conductors,

my eyes brilliant buttons on their lapels.

 

my Captains constantly returned from the sea

with their tugs brimful of perch,

and my Conductors shuttled their trains

predictably in and out of the giant silos of grain

men and their workings were forever

coming home and leaving

 

In the village it was easy to forget

my Bogart Daddy

women surrounded me like fishing boats in season

and I satisfied my emptiness

with green apples and salt.

 

In my village

there were Saturday matinee heroes

purchased for a dime

there were long stretches of empty beach

great white seagulls always out of reach

undertows, that carried sand castles out to sea

 

my Bogart Daddy became a blind conductor

with a wooden heart that dangled

in the window of a caboose

 

he could whistle like a train leaving

 

or the echo of a foghorn calling me

across a cold, hard  sea.

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