I am not my father
He is immigrant & I have never been one.
He is tall & I am me and
so I am not my father.
I am loud & his voice is
strong enough to
be soft and not collapse.
He is a healer & I write poetry
He is orphaned & I have him
and so I will never be my father
You have dragged up all of your
rotten and vile insecurities and
Smeared them across his name and
The communities he has loved and
Some of you have called him
A terrorist. A national threat.
A man who doesn’t deserve to be here anymore.
A sellout. A weak man.
You have placed his beautiful name in the same
Stale and Bitter Paragraph as America’s favorite villains
And other peoples favorite cheap shots.
I keep count of the times you made his life
heavier than it needed to be and
made him feel that his accent was
drooping and sickly and this is why
I am not my father but I love my father
His hands do not tremble the way mine do
I am angry for him in all the ways he doesn’t allow himself to be
I. cannot. be. my. father.
He is kind and gentle but
I am not
I thrash and I grind my teeth
he doesn’t not
I writhe. I remember. I keep count.
He lets you pry him apart as
he keeps his hands running across prayer beads
and so I wear prayer beads
to remind people that I am not my father
but I am his daughter
I do not come to the table patient
I do not offer up everything I have
and bury my pride
for someone else’s good fortune
or redemption or healing
I am selfish and cruel
I hold it in but not for long.
I shout and make you see
where you hurt me I will grab
your eyes and show them to
my scars as I
Maybe I ought to be more like my father but I am not.
I am a fist &
my father is a cupped hand in prayer.
I fight back &
He builds something beautiful
I smash and stamp my feet while
his walk along without pause for your obscenities.
He is good & I am angry
I do not let go & he does like
pain is a breeze and
your words are just another song.
He overflows with forgiveness
& I die of thirst choosing
blood over water every time