Let's say you have a father. You have a relationship with him,
one that changes with your perception of him, one that changes
with his perception of you. You grow up, you do
things on your own, you listen to your own heart--
and his nonsense about adulthood and responsibility--
and then you discover
you are responsible for your actions, and he
can't bail you out and you see his wisdom and you see his love
that only seems to match what you and he are.
And then he goes and dies.
You try to hang on to every memory you ever had, even memories
he doesn't belong in and you see his influence and his presence
and is it any wonder that God is a father? You see he was there,
always there, guiding you as a model and you clung onto every memory,
like a man sweeping the ocean towards him, trying to embrace
everything in front of him and pull it around him like a coat or a wall.
You rail and you gnash and you cry because
it wants to be forgotten, it wants to get loose
but you're trying to hug water
and you can't remember. And the fact you can't remember
is suddenly comforting. Maybe it wasn't him that made you this way,
maybe it was you alone and so you allow yourself to forget
how a man died without a word to you,
because he couldn't breathe enough to say anything to you,
and how you cried until your marriage broke, how you let it all disintegrate
into his ashes, how angry you were, not at him, but at your loss, at his absence.
And "your absence has gone through me," the poet wrote...
And you remember words you never expected
to attach to a memory of your father and then
"like thread through a needle:" the poet wrote...and your eyes mist up and
your saliva pools between your teeth and it's everything everything
everything...the poet wrote, "everything I do is stitched with its color."
The world stops moving.
The traffic outside stops playing in your ears.
The voices of humanity silence themselves.
The oxygen pauses
in your lungs to acknowledge absence...
and then rushes ahead to catch up and the blood in your heart
pumps hard and the tears and the saliva are released in a flood:
not a memory
of event, but a memory
a memory of absence, and then a stitching of your life.
And you grimace: "you stopped time, you son of a bitch,
you figured out how to get underneath the laws of physics and steal
pieces of the universe back from it, you sneaky little