The other father’s day

A happy Father’s Day, wherever you are,

Whatever your reasons for running away,

In some ways you’ll be just like, ordinary,

Except, of course, I don’t know what those ways are,

If I had to make a guess, oh wait, I do,

I’d have to start from the middle of the road,

But even the normal isn’t that easy,

Let’s have a think about what little I know,

TV, stories, books, other men’s role models,

All second hand ideas about a shadow

Of something that everyone is supposed to know,

I hear something that sounds right and think that’s it,

Or that sometimes my father still speaks through me,

Whatever I think he is, is all there is,

I can make little of the little I know,

This is some sort of masochism, or what?

Hand-me-down imaginings get in the way,

My father is nothing like those images,

I must know him from what I know about me,

Even though I don’t like everything I know,

In fact, there’s nothing good in any of this,

Forget it; I’ll stick with what I once thought was true,

That gives me some control over who he is,

But what makes me think I can just fantasise,

If it hurts, so what? It hurts, deal with it,

A runaway father is not the normal,

Think about it for a while, get to know it,

Second-hand shadows might be a place to start,

Then anything anyone says who knew you,

Then maybe I’ll get to see who you are,

As if you can tell what’s what by what’s missing,

Objective, not emotional perspective,

But none of that actually makes a father,

The warmth, smell, sound, touch, safety, fear and pride of dad.

Sean Openshaw
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