In my fantasy of fatherhood, in which I’m your real father, not just the almost dad arriving through random channels of divorce, you and I don’t lie to one another— shrugging each other off when words get the best of us but coming full circle with wan smiles. When you hole up inside yourself, headphones and computer screen taking you away, I want to feel in ten years that if I’m still alive you’ll still look at me with that same wary expectancy, your surreptitious cool-eyed appraisal debating if my love for you is real. Am I destined to be those shark-faced waves that my death will one day make you enter? You and your mother make such a self-sufficient pair— in thrift stores looking for your prom dress, what father could stand up to your unsparing eyes gauging with such erotic calculation your figure in the mirror? Back of it all, when I indulge my second sight, all I see are dead zones: no grandchildren, no evenings at the beach, no bonfires in a future that allows one glass of wine per shot of insulin. Will we both agree that I love you, always, no matter my love’s flawed, aging partiality? My occupation now is to help you be alone.
Originally published in Station Zed (Graywolf Press, 2014). Copyright © 2014 by Thomas Sleigh. Used with the permission of the poet.
Tom Sleigh is the author of nine books of poetry, a translation of Euripides' Herakles, and a book of essays.
Date Published: 2014-01-01
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/second-sight