Monday, March 11, 2013

Michael P. Bobbitt: Surrogate

Several of my friends and I belong to the "lost fathers club." I think we should make an anthology for those of us who lost our dads too soon.

Here's another from Michael P. Bobbitt.


Because my father left slack
You took it up
Opened your fold for a straggler
Lost on his way—

Loved without reservation
When it wasn’t required.
Your son is my best friend
But that’s not enough
For you to give so much
To me,
To all our friends,
Welcome any day and every day in your home
At your table,
Under the hood of some shit car
You were always helping to fix.

So now I can pull a starter
Or replace a clutch cable;
I know what a clutch cable is
Because of you.

A surrogate for a missing father,
A dad because nothing else could have saved me—
But that’s only half the story

Where it should have ended

Before the denouement

That overtyped the perfect scenes

Of us all together:

Singing on your couch
You proudly behind the enormous
Shoulder-mount camcorder
Narrating, “These are my kids
All of them
Growing up too fast.”

The dark thing you did
Even now—
The day I learned you left prison
For what judgment or redemption
Waits for all of us beyond the sky—

Even now it shakes me in the guts
And the heart and
Down into my feet
And I don’t understand.

I wasn’t allowed to look you in the face a final time
To take measure of the man I love
That so loved me
To grab you by the face
And scream at you, even.

So you died alone
None of your so many children
Near you behind those walls.
Your memory
Being scrubbed away
From so many others’ lives
But not mine, Dad.

Love is an infinite energy
That can never die
Once it has been created
Once it has been given away
Recycled now into my son,
Comfortable with a wrench
And the harmony of a hymn.

The good half of you,
Living still.

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