Speak softly, Father.
The light that pierces the darkness
Paints shadows on your face
Marring you,
And the creases that cut
Your forehead do not catch
The light.
Thunderous rumble
Of your baritone
Quivers my bones
And I think to hide from you.
In your hand it flashes
And catches the light
And like lightening slices
Across us.
Still the thunder fills us with a terror
Mere lightning cannot reach.

Tread softly, Father.
The rubber that softens your heaviness
Wears bone thin and
Each step sounds
The death knell
Drawing you closer to us
And us to an end.
The melody of your gait
Is indiscernible yet;
We do not know
Whether to melt ourselves
Into darkness
And pretend we are nothing,
Or to reveal ourselves fully,
Your wrath subdued for
A moment.

Go softly, Father.
Remember that while
The years have faded
The memory and the scars,
You are yet untarnished.
So we wait for the
Soft lines that blur you
To harden,
And we wait for your jagged
Cruel edges to return,
And while she has forgotten
The history of our scars
And we pretend we don’t remember,
Time is nothing in memory
And the scars are ever present
Breaking open
And bleeding again.

Smile softly, Father.
Cracked and broken,
Your face has not
felt the warmth of a smile
In an age.
It won’t weaken you, if you love
Softly. You are still a man
If you smile and say,
“I love you.” If you lower your voice
And speak softly, Father, we will still
Know you.
It is alright for us to know you, Father.
You won’t break.
You may crack from disuse
But you are strong, Father. You’ll heal.
Just once, before you go beyond us
Tread softly. Let us love you, Father.

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