Walking With My Dad

Walking With My Dad short poem

Uploaded by Toni Scales

maybe my father was a good but lonely man

when my mother died he was all I had
and I was all there was left of his world

he grew so sad after her death
that he couldn’t work anymore

just sat in his sofa chair all day
squinting at sunlight
as if the formations of clouds
might lend him answers
to questions he didn’t know

but he’d always summon just enough strength
to smile at me in the morning

it never met his eyes
but I knew he loved me
because his tired will made sure
I ate my apple and brushed my teeth

he’d always loved his morning coffee and cigarette

but he gave them up to buy me
fresh milk for school

when my pants were full of holes
he used to take patches of his own
to cover them up

my shoes were always new and shined
while his made him look like a hobo
a man who came from a native world
who could not speak the language

the children would make fun of us
my father would stare sheepishly at the ground
I could feel his burning shame
palpable in the crisp autumn air

he’d try to talk to me
of baseball and a boy’s world
I wouldn’t say anything
biting back tears that smarted my eyes

because deep inside I hated him
his feebleness
his old-man defeat

I despised him for his sacrifice
and for letting my mother die
even though the cancer had killed her
and he’d had nothing to fight with
but the innumerable hours and a creaking chair

a year later at his funeral
I placed a can of coffee beans
and a pack of Marlboro’s in his casket
and thought how I’d had
the best dad in the world

now when he squints
into that impossible sunlight
he’ll know the answers
pour himself a warm cup of joe
take a deep, soul-filling drag

of the knowledge of a son
who was wrong
and who loved him so much

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