Tuesday, November 15, 2016

November 15: My Father, Richard Blanco, "Burning in the Rain"

Last Thursday, my father fell down a flight of stairs in his home.  He dislocated his shoulder.  The ER doctor put his arm in a sling and told him to keep it immobile.  If my father does that, he won't need surgery, which, at his age (89), is an iffy proposition.

When I saw my dad this weekend, he looked pretty bad.  He was still in his pajamas.  Hadn't shaved for a few days.  Hadn't combed his hair.  He sat in his chair, groaning and coughing.  For the first time in my life, I actually thought he looked old instead of invincible.

I haven't seen my father for a few days now, so I don't know if his condition has improved.  He's always been a tough bastard, never letting anything slow him down.  Until now.  Yes, I am contemplating my dad's mortality.  Looking at him this weekend, I could actually understand that, eventually, he's not going to be around.

I haven't always gotten along with my dad.  We have a complex relationship.  I know he loves me and is proud of me.  However, we just don't see eye-to-eye on a whole lot of things.  Yet, I've never pictured a world without him.

Saint Marty isn't really good at letting go.

Burning in the Rain

by:  Richard Blanco

Someday compassion would demand
I set myself free of my desire to recreate
my father, indulge in my mother’s losses,
strangle lovers with words, forcing them
to confess for me and take the blame.
Today was that day: I tossed them, sheet
by sheet on the patio and gathered them
into a pyre. I wanted to let them go
in a blaze, tiny white dwarfs imploding
beside the azaleas and ficus bushes,
let them crackle, burst like winged seeds,
let them smolder into gossamer embers—
a thousand gray butterflies in the wind.
Today was that day, but it rained, kept
raining. Instead of fire, water—drops
knocking on doors, wetting windows
into mirrors reflecting me in the oaks.
The garden walls and stones swelling
into ghostlier shades of themselves,
the wind chimes giggling in the storm,
a coffee cup left overflowing with rain.
Instead of burning, my pages turned
into water lilies floating over puddles,
then tiny white cliffs as the sun set,
finally drying all night under the moon
into papier-mâché souvenirs. Today
the rain would not let their lives burn.

1 comment: