partial portrait of a man

I dreamed you died
and took all your secrets with you
a whole life Iíll never know

And I wonder if it matters
that I was often too afraid to ask
about the horrors of your past
a daughterís name Iíve never heard you speak
and tears unshed
or maybe just unseen
for a sister dead at cancers hand

While your own hand
has always been harsh of our rebel hearts
when you own heart once beat
against the status quo
apples in your pockets
and days of school skipped
to play hooky on the river banks

We canít know the struggles
of life in the 1940s and 50s
a mother dead from asthma
a negligent father gone with drink
and a childhood spent looking out
from the windows of those early
childrenís homes
a family dispersed by tragedy

I know violence was a way of life
a generation of men speaking with their fists
when words failed to speak
with the power of a punch
and workersí rights werenít quite formed
early mornings spent walking for miles
just to be in a place that barely paid the rent

You worked hard for little
so that when success came
you could work hard for an income
many of us only dream about

And I donít remember much of you
from the days when my short spindly legs
were grazed from climbing trees
and tripping over in the gravel

But I do remember fear and a home ruled
with an iron fist and a hard hand
enjoying the rare moments
when you had too much to drink
because you always seemed happy
when you were drunk

I remember being dragged all over the country
while you chased a job
that kept you from home
sometimes for weeks at a time
and how the house seemed to breathe better
when you were gone

I remember how we all fought
for your affection and how I never really
measured up

I remember how we spent
a decade acting like we wanted
to kill each other with words
and while you never struck me as a teen
I remember how it felt the one time
you pinned me against the wall
and I pushed you against the stairs
unwilling to be bullied into cowering submission
for accidentally dropping my fork on the floor

I spent so long wanting your praise
that when it finally came
it didnít mean anything anymore

Time had ravaged you and mellowed you
and I no longer looked up at you
like the fearsome God of my childhood

In my eyes you became a meaningless old man
doling out praise a little too late
for it to rest of my shoulders with pride

And as the years pass by and you begin to fade
I start to forget the war
noticing more how your skin now hangs
from your fragile bones
and I think of all the times we sat in silence
the air open for words to be spoken
instead of just lingering in thoughts
and an unvoiced interest
in the world you came from
before you became the man Iíve always known

I dreamed you died
and took all your secrets with you
a whole life Iíll never know
and one that youíve never been
quite willing to share with me
on the rare occasions Iíve asked

© Indie Adams 2014
Written by Indie (Miss Indie)
All writing remains the property of the author. Don't use it for any purpose without their permission.
likes 5 reading list entries 0
comments 4 reads 584
Commenting Preference: 
The author encourages honest critique.

Latest Forum Discussions
Today 11:59am by The_Silly_Sibyl
Today 6:02am by Phantom2426
Today 6:00am by Phantom2426
Today 5:57am by Phantom2426
Today 4:22am by rabbitquest
Today 4:20am by AspergerPoet56