convincing my parents to move

my great grandmother
looked into a crystal ball
to see what the lord asked her to see
her daughter
in love with a demon
a creature born missing 3 fingers
this man was not allowed in my grandmother’s home
but he fathered my father
in a small Illinois town in 1946
7 fingers
4 children
1 office supply store
employing people of every color
despite the grim warning
from the chamber of commerce
teaching my dad early
about the value
of everyone

when my dad was 10 he shouted
“bring me back somethin’”
as his dad drove away for the last time
routine surgery wasn’t as routine then
so my dad now says
“I love you”
any time one of us leaves
because it might be the last time
and he never forgave
his 10-year-old-self
for wanting something shiny
instead of giving something sweet

my dad smiled and talked about a movie over dinner tonight
one with a happy ending
not the real ending
the one that happened in our world
but the one made up by the protagonist’s son
and I asked to hear of my dad’s beginning
not the fake one my young self remembers
but the real one
that happened in his world
and he cried happy tears
talking about his father

throughout my teen years
I tried to pull the darkness out of him
to connect on rage
and sadness
but I finally see
that he’s had enough
of both
to last two lifetimes
and he made sure
that neither of them
were mine

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