Poem to a Father
After all this time
my return is still inconvenient:
you have to set up a mattress & pillows
out of dusty self-help books.
I no longer have my own room
& I can’t find my violin. You say it’s because I slept
with a Moslem girl.
I guess home is a purgatory
where fathers offer their children’s rooms in return for heaven.
This pillow says: To forgive one must say the name out loud,
one must pronounce “Father” properly.
Don’t you agree,
is a sculpture of my past,
a childhood song
I no longer remember?
In this shelter of a sunken temple
I submerged myself to sleep,
to find my body
in the hands of a drowned God.
He sank when he crossed the oceans to find my mother.
He gently starts praying with his eyes
as though they were looking at a dead body.
The way I say “Father” sounds like a broken violin.
I can see now, this God,
he is made of stone,
his head & cheeks are dry,
like the once bleeding hands
of the sculptor who created him.
Sleep now in this strange city
this moving castle.
Forget your son,
put a blanket over your head.
It will protect you from bad dreams.
Look at my wrists, I am still alive. There’s no need to worry,
I have had many homes,
Homes, but none where I had a father.
Once, I went to school carrying an empty bag.
Now I drift between oceans:
ancestry & my mother’s old stories.
Sometimes I wish I was the farmer’s son,
plowing the fields with his father.
Jeddie Sophronius was born in Jakarta, Indonesia. He is a senior at Western Michigan University, majoring in English with an emphasis in creative writing. He currently lives in Kalamazoo.