An Ode to Thee

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It has been 20 years since your passing and everything I write about you seems painfully inadequate. There is no way to summarise the man that you were, but I feel the only way to honour you is with words- something which you cherished and something that is our family’s heirloom.  I love you.

 

“When was the last time you spoke to him?” She asked

Casting my mind back to a white washed hospital room

Where a poet of the minds lay,

Stripped of his words and voice,

Tethered to a life support machine.

I still recall the way the words evaporated into the still air,

Emptiness recognising emptiness,

Taking up permanent residence in our lives.

 

If I spoke to him now, there would only be three words I would want to say.

I would whisper them into the Jasmine scented breeze, his favourite flower,

And shout them over the crashing of the waves.

I would speak them unabashedly to the full moon,

And spell each burnished letter out with the night stars.

 

My memories of him are the salt of my wounds,

Both needed and resisted.

And on some days, I find myself assembling the remnants like a blind man with broken pieces of glass,

Painfully constructing an idea of who my father was.

I know that time will determine how long I remember the cadence of his voice and his wry smile.

The way he would always welcome me into the crook of his arms at dawn, after yet another nightmare.

The texture of his favourite flannelette pyjamas and the course ridges of his palm in mine.

I treasure the vague thumbnails and brief snapshots, knowing they will become prey to dust and decay.

Because memories become fractured too,

Broken in time, and weathered, like the humans they inhabit.

 

And I think of the 20 years of memories left for my conjecture

Bearing the shape and weight of my limited imagination,

I fantasize about all the creative ways I could have said thank you,

And I realise the only way is with my words and my actions,

In this here pocket of time, I can be a legacy of his truth.

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