Father Hunting #3

 

I was forever slipping ashore

and sliding back out to sea

 

each time I’d meet this man along the way

I knew from some forgotten place in time

and throughout our conversations

his eyes would wander aimlessly

along the sidewalks of unfamiliar streets

 

like the bull bred to the ring

or the dog on end of a short leash.

 

“I married too soon

and became a caretaker of children, he’d say.”

 

I’d tell him I’ve been close

to caring a couple times, myself.

 

he’d always take a closer look at me

not quite sure where I fit into his world

and ask me, “Have you ever been home?”

I’d tell him that I was too old to settle down.

when I stayed in one place too long

 

the feet didn’t listen anymore,

the mind did all the walking

and my hands turned to old stone.

 

I’d tell him my hands

have always been older than I am,

reaching for air since birth

they grew a taunt coating of skin

that clings to thin bone like well-worn leather

or languid poems continually reworked

 

they became derelicts searching rubble,

never letting go of the romantic,

groping for pockets of soft flesh,

for handshakes, for itch,

they brush away tears, hold children,

hesitate to wave farewell.

 

he always takes my hand, ever so slightly,

and wishes me good luck

 

I’d feel the rough hand of passing years

like a blind beggar

searching my pockets of fear for change.

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