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Father's Touch

I was an asthmatic kid
And when I got sick
It was like breathing through
A wet afro in my windpipe.
The panic, the agony,
My own lungs
Waterboarding me.

Will the next breath
Happen? Can't think like that.
Just keep breathing,
Like heaving thousand pound rocks
With my chest.

And my father was
A workin' man, tall and
Black and full of muscles
White smile crooked
As a gentle hustle.
He lived just outside the edges
Of real life, almost
In a land of myth and legend
Black belt superhero.

One night I was in bed
Wheezing in dim light
That spilled in from the living room of
Adult voices and murmured

And my Dad drifted in from work
Late night mahogany angel
Sat on my bed,
Laid his heavy hand on my chest,

And in this memory,
I can't see his face
Or make out his words
Of murmured thunder
But I know they are kind
Words, my son, my son

And my eyelashes
Stretch the light
Behind his head
Into pins and needles
Blades of brilliance
A halo of radiance
His shadowed face
His hallowed face

Hand heavy on my chest.
Warm as sunrise, heavy as Gold.

And if you ask me
What does Father mean?
I paint you this portrait
Lovingly. And with tears.

Father means:

The one who
Descends from the land
Of myth and legend
And murmured thunder

Splits the sky asunder and
Suddenly appears next to you.
Like Jesus Christ on a park bench

Comes to you.
In a strange and magical moment.
Fact and fiction mixture
Heartbeat whisper and deep wind
Tussles soul grass --
*Reality shivers*


A callused, heavy hand
With veins like Nile rivers
Slides through the cracks
Between heaven and earth
Descends and comes to rest

Heavy on my chest

And it's a radical, sudden intersection
Between golden streets and sick frail lungs
And god-like fathers and asthmatic sons.

Please don't misunderstand
I am not idealizing my father
Just realizing what my father
Taught me about my real Father.

And this mechanic's hand
Blackened, fissured, warm touch
Knuckles like knots of oak
Palm scratchy as corn husk,
I can feel it right now on my chest
Heavy through the decades.
Inside me. Forever.

My Father's hands
Reveal God to me.
Hidden down deep
In the fissures and cracks
Blazing secrets in arroyos of black
God who gives us fathers.
And their hands as a metaphor.
And their distance
And sudden closeness
Makes us listless
For more.

And this world is full of asthmatic sons
In desperate need of a Father’s touch

That heavy hand that holds in its weight

The heft of all creation;
And all beauty in the world
And all mystery, passionate
Heart-cry of eternity
On your chest
Feel the press
Feel the burgeoning
To enter your heart
Like a spear, like a blade
Like a brand new start.
Like a gardening spade.

And he's close now
Feel His breath
On your eyelids
And it's Father, it's
Murmured thunder.
Raw, ferocious love
The terror and the wonder
The budding flower
And the burning sun
The yearning One
Who could wither you
In less than a blink
And you'd be done.

Your whole life
Like a twig
Between His finger
And thumb.

And … instead
He gives mercy
And calls you a son.

And what loving Father
Doesn't lay his hand
On His

Love is stronger
Than death.

Asthmatic son
Are you heaving
Thousand pound rocks
With your chest?

Do you think God is stressed
Disapprovingly shaking His head
At your mess?

Are you weary
And heavy laden
And searching for rest?

Do you sometimes forget?
Or maybe never knew?
Maybe never knew?

Our Father.
Father. Daddy.
Papa. Abba.


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