If you never have anything
you don’t know what there was to lose…
my children know, though
they do as they most surely knew
love and warm dinners and cracked smiles
and laughter as long as the days grown wild
these things have gone missing
in their wholes still there in their parts
my parts, their father’s.
It wasn’t supposed to get this bitter,
or this intense. To slip silently out
of someone’s life once you realize
they never had any intention of
fully being in yours. These decades length strangers.
They’re not old enough for real explanations
the narrative is cheap, incomplete and flimsy and
out of my hands.
The Daughter Land Map
It shows everything and nothing
the terrain steep–so much to climb through
in hardly enough space to breathe
there are rocks and cliffs
and a river somewhere on
a distant valley floor.
Did I bring the wrong map?
forget where north is?
I would today gladly find
that village here in DaughterLand
high above the tree tops
where we sat together
and laughed and waited happily
for her father to get home
for her brother to wake from a nap
for the two of us
so much alike, so much different
to be in that one location
We meet in my office alone
not too long, just long enough
there are children to discuss
and the taxi-ing of children
to various places to various things
i do not hate him
if i can look at him, his face
and not remember any of the nights
i felt lonely when he was a few inches
away from me on the other side of a
king side bed with an ocean of differences
in between–back and forth–back and forth
lulled for a decade or so.
I promised when we met I wouldn’t write about him
and for the most part I’ve kept that promise.
he has his narrative
i have mine
they are not anywhere near each other
each still on the other end of a too large bed
one kid estranged from him
one estranged from me
we held on so very long before sinking
tomorrow we will be divorced.
I want to keep her off
the northern californian crutch
as long as possible
I keep thinking it’s a green leafy battle
but she’s thinking it something else
I’m already losing the argument
and we haven’t even started.
We tell each other the
deepest dark in the dark hours
before dawn. We say what we know
has been hushed and stiffled
screaming like a vein against
the skin–it’s what love and only
love can do.
April 14 More from the Daughterland
She watches her father and I
sit on his front porch
share a brief laugh
holding fast to whatever it is
we still have in common
as we navigate away from each other
It pisses her off.
That we could get along and smile
while she’s playing the misery record
of divorced children
If you laugh, she says, you are leading him on
If you don’t laugh, I think, you wind up inhumane
I can’t tell her she’ll understand
when she’s older
I can’t tell her the reasons we
can’t be together
they are not 13 year old reasons
they are hard fought dragged out years reasons
We cancel our plans for the day
they don’t fit into her rage
and I drive off without her.
We are all lied to, my love
mostly by ourselves
we tell ourselves stories
in which to wallow
in which to cave
in which to concede
that is how we found ourselves today
you with an unfinished assignment
me with a clock ticking and an ego’s rage
we wanting both of us to be perfect
when neither of us could be
I want so much to tell you the truth
but I know this is the age where you find
your own truths amid the lies of culture
you shed your own skin and mine as well
every word spoken an indictment
of whatever it was we tried to do
to raise you.
I tell myself it is all natural
the normal course of things
that at the end of this time
we all come back together again.