23 February 2007

On Poetry and Fathers


Justice Putnam

The one thing
That always amazed me

Even from the
Earliest moment
Of your life

Was the utter trust
You had in me

And I was struck
At the time
By the amount
Of doubt

I had in myself.

Even though
Your mother and I
Had half a year
To practice breathing

I doubted that
I could remember
Properly when to
Encourage the right

And when the doctor
Said I could assist
And I finally held

Gray and small

I thought to that
Distant day
When you would

Hold your own son
In the same way

And I thought of
The resolve you would

Just as I had

To love
Like no other
Father has loved.

So the years pass

And I doubt
You felt the
Prayer of love

Over that distance
And separation
You grew in.

A correspondence
Is a poor substitute
For a kiss

Yet each word
Was a universe
Of touch

I doubt it
Was enough.

I cannot now

For all that you
Went through

I wish it were

But mere words
And sentiment
Are hollow.

You are now
A father

Kiss your son
While you can

Has a way
Of intruding
Upon the best
Of plans

And apologies

Become terrible

© 2004 by Justice Putnam
and Mechanisches-Strophe Verlagswesen

(This piece has appeared in the Berkeley Daily Planet and Art in a Liberal Frame.)

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