To My Father Upon His Death
by Leigh Allen

In my imagination
I am an angel or bird
flying over the woods, fields
of three states to get to your
death bed.

Because after a decade or more
you say you want to see me,
your eldest child,

Am I an angel of death?
Will you be unconscious before I can get there?
Will we have an inane conversation where
you fake loving me?

Will we have one last conversation,
after so many years of not talking,
where I tell you: I love you,
I’m sorry you chose to not love me,
but I have long accepted it.

Be at peace, Papa.

Before I can get on the
tangled highways here in the city
in the dark before sunrise,
I’m told everything has changed,
you refuse to see anyone,
and I am told to not come.

I have lived a long time now fatherless,
having lost you long ago.

I go to work instead.
The next day you die.
I don’t travel to your funeral
because it is too late.

I don’t hear the Dixieland band that plays

Now you are gone forever
there will be no reconciliation now
no way for you to admit you are
proud of me, of how I raised myself
without you.

Forever it will be for us like this:

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