e.e.m.

I’m scared as hell to write this
because that would be me
admitting that you might not be around
and that there would be a need
for someone to tell your story

I don’t know
if I know your story well enough to tell

sometimes I blame you
for not giving me all of the details
filling the air instead with what today held
when I need to know what it looked like in 1950
but most times
I blame myself
for never asking
and instead filling the air
with what today held

it doesn’t seem fair that I’m only now old enough
to realize that I should have realized things sooner
that I missed opportunities
before I could have known what they meant
but a 7 year old girl can’t know
that her dad won’t be able to run with her when she’s 30
so she runs down the sand dunes towards lake michigan
and her dad
knowing it will always be that way

a 9 year old girl tries to hold onto a story about your childhood
a 14 year old girl tries to put words in your mouth
a 19 year old girl forgets to talk to you
a 24 year old girl moves 1500 miles away
and a 29 year old girl wants you to move 1500 miles closer

I don’t really know if you had a paper route before
or after your father died
and I don’t know if your mom remarried
or just dated bad guys
I can’t remember where Louise was
or Corky
but I remember that Judy could walk through gravel
barefoot
like it was nothing
And that your dad hired a black kid to work at the office supply store
even when the city said he shouldn’t
that he wouldn’t eat in restaurants if Leon couldn’t eat with him
I remember that you partied in college
and loved the navy
but came back from Vietnam
to make soap and be a dad
a transition so stark and so permanent
that on the night of my graduation
you told me to take every chance
that you never got to take
I don’t know how long your first marriage lasted
or how long it took you to be okay again
but I know you met mom when you were 41
and she was 30
and you had to convince her to date you
because teenage kids aren’t the easiest sell
I remember how you always smiled when you looked at me
with the tiniest glimmer
of tears held back
I remember valentines dances at the YMCA

I know that you love
so much
and that you always have
and that
that is your story

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