Father


It’s a lonely Friday,
and I’m accompanied only by the buzzing silence of an empty home.
Outside, the sun thaws away at the frozen ground.
I'm restless.
Winter dies around me, and
I know I said I’d call.

I look to the tilted mantle and find your youth captured in a monochrome photograph.
I only ever see you in ink now,
as I carefully examine your paper face.
Your skin is yet freckled by time, a smooth canvas of camera flash paleness.
From timid eyes and the sharp curves of strong cheekbones, your long nose completes you in
a structure of tight-lipped seriousness.
A boy rushed into a man’s uniform,
whose tie chokes him with obligation, and military hat burdens him with pride.

Yet, fleshy cheeks and rounded chin mold a different person.
Your arched brow suggests a boyish charm.
Flickers of mischief dare to peel back this forced facade.
Hazel eyes dip into pensive pupils
that devour.

By the kitchen window,
my fingers move across the number pad of the home phone.
The sun moves in behind me.
First, a long unfamiliar number,
Then the soft crackle of your voice.
A stream of broken words seep through the phone.
Yours crippled by age; mine, by language;
but this time, I’m unbothered.
There's no worries of what to say or how to say it.
Moments of silence come and go,
but we rest in them together.

I understand that the many miles between us are unforgiving,
that I exist an hour ahead of you for half the year,
and that seeing you again will never be definite.
But, today, even that is enough.

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