Burying the Ghost
by Richard Schnap

It was twenty winters ago this month
When I stood looking down at the sterile bed
At the father I knew little more than a stranger
Now just a skeleton with a shroud of skin

His mouth was open as if at his end
He craved one last taste of life’s brief breath
Or maybe to utter a final farewell
To the shadow he’d hid in all of his days

For I lost count of times he wasn’t there
The high school play that he didn’t attend
The decades of dinners where nobody spoke
The time I asked for love and he wouldn’t reply

But tonight as the wind shakes the naked trees
I find in my heart the will to forgive him
For still he was the only father I’d know
A man I wish I had somehow known better

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