What Does Father’s Day Mean To You?


2f285-fatherFather’s Day is almost here, and we’ll celebrate our fathers in many different ways. For some it might be the day—the only day—when they say “Thanks, Dad, for getting your gun out that one time when Joe Blow wanted me to get on the back of his bike.”

Others might thank their fathers for simply being there all these years. Maybe that’s why I never felt the need to honor my father on this day. It took twenty-five plus years before I found enough closure, could think about him in a new light, and realized that yes, even he deserved recognition on this day.

Last year was the first Father’s Day that he entered my mind. There are complicated reasons why I never considered him worthy enough, reasons I won’t get into. Let’s just say that a year ago this month, I finally found some answers. Finally understood why he did what he did.

He’s not here in the physical sense to hear it, but Happy Father’s Day, Dad. I sure wish you’d been around to scare away some of those boys when I was a teenager. Even more, I wish you were around today to see your grandkids grow up. Every time I look at my daughter, I wonder how you could’ve done it, yet I know you had demons chasing you. I understand, and I forgive you.

I’d like to share a poem I wrote a few months ago, probably one of the most raw and abstract poems I’ve ever written, but I know that wherever he is, he’ll understand every word.


Twenty-seven years since that morning two blocks down
Cold dawn of winter, pine needles blanketing the ground

Spectator detachment when you were found

Twenty-fifth of January passes with usual cadence

Too young, truth distorted, memories as real as whispers

Butter and crackers, drowned puppies, wildflower bouquets

Tears over shoelaces, anger over locked doors, short were the days

The Earth rotates, moons slowly wane

Crystalized over the years

Nothing like “thief” and “drunk” and “self-murderer” to make me proud

The side of you lost in the bottle

Lost in the little boy discarded

Lost in the system of your bane

Love and hate meet on opposing sides of the funhouse mirror

Twenty-seven years of scattered DNA

Traced along paper’s trail

Grandpa nameless screams in hell

Ghost stories retold, relayed

Grandma faceless rolls in her grave

I hold what’s yours in my hands

Tangible you

All I have left

Words lovingly read

Given and spread

The ocean calls for ashes of forgiveness

Twenty-seven years in the vault of unclaimed forgottens

Haunts with guilt’s sharpened edge

There you remain


To be loved

To be forgiven

To be understood

Here I wait

For the jagged hole to show mercy

For the salt to abate in your absence

For the day I can give the ultimate gift


© Copyright 2012 Gemma James

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