October: My father was no ordinary man
My father was no ordinary man
My father could fly. He needed no father –
he had mother, the hunger of four older brothers –
my father was one of an army of brothers
and he learnt all the ways of men.
My father was handsome and worshipped by women.
His loins were a river: they flowed with his children
and he was the fountain of truth we all drank from
and when he held forth we would not interrupt him.
My father named every flower in the garden,
each star in the night by the right constellation.
He knew all the birds by their song
and they sang it. My father could never be wrong.
His hands were a gun and they brought down the rabbit.
He fed us on flesh that was studded with bullets.
There was fire in his fist, there was gold in his pocket.
My father turned water to wine and he drank it –
he needed no prayer and no God
for he was the word and he rang like a hammer.
Oh, my father was victor; he rode on our shoulders,
he rode deep inside us. We carried my father
through hell and high water,
we proved ourselves worthy of love
and his love was a river in flood.
The sun made him happy.
The truth was soft mud in his hands, oh truly
he was the truth and he was the glory.
He filled all the rooms with his song and his story,
his whisper could silence a house
for my father bore pain that you could not imagine.
His forearms were scarred and his fingers were broken.
His lungs were a pit and his heart was a puncture.
Oh, my father was hard and my father was tender
and his hand was a mark
we will all wear forever.