On Missing My Father (Whom I Only Met Once)

Running around, / feverish, / Sunday sweaty,

finally saying goodbye to Tom Petty / properly

Caring makes me feel un-American, and honey,

there’s something wrong with that…’ / from the corner,

my father’s imagined commentary / I belong here,

crawling the walls of a false memory, / and no one

can tell me that closeness makes a family / when I

didn’t learn of paternity until my thirties / (it had to be)

This way I can’t blame a name I never knew, / picture

a wrong face in the flashing red and blue / No, I’ll just

have trouble memorizing what’s true, / fill us both in

on the missed history, / make up the rest, / distinguish

between the fictions, / uncover mysteries, / and tap along

to our shared favorite tunes, / knowing all along it was you

that I missed / I’ll never forget this now, / your face,

our shared eyes and smiles, / across miles, / singing along to

‘Saving Grace’

August 9, 2019

Published by Jennifer Patino


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