What Father Says About Living

Father says
that like our ancestors
who left the homeland
to seek out better
he is leaving the States
to a country
that’s poor,
but desperate,
for a money-making opportunity.

I can only listen
as I hold my baby,
which he barely sees,
and wonder why
this land
isn’t enough
for him.

Father says
that America is dying
of greed and politicians,
and it’s time
to head to Europe,
because there’s no greed
or politicians there.
Just the voice
of the people.

I can only listen
as I toil away,
still holding tight
to the American dream–
no, to my dream,
of just having a home
and not getting a stomach ache
whenever I see
my bills.

Father says
he is heading off to
because he can’t stand
a life
just working and working
and living
until he dies.

Then I stop,
still holding tight
to the grandbaby
he’ll barely know,
and wonder if it’s the place
that really matters.

And if life isn’t work,
it’s babies,
and the smell of rain,
fresh bread and butter,
warm cookies,
laughing around the kitchen table,
weeping, smiling, making love,
picking up your brother
after he’s done something wrong.
Asking your mom
to forgive you,
and telling grandma
that Father
doesn’t understand.

Father says
leaving overseas
will make him happy.
That it’s what he wants
to do,
that we’ll have to have
a letter

I can only listen
and hold tight
to my baby.

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