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
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.