The Inadequacy of Memories, Photographs, and Dreams

Oh, father! Art thou in oblivion?
Beyond the scope of any visual lens?
In an unparalleled universe of sparks
And hopeless impulsive flashes
Of neon-creviced memory?

Where can I find your smell?
Your laughter?  Your pensive sulk?
Those dark grey eyes that reflected
A wearied bitterness for the boundaries of your pre-mortem existence?

Watching too much television–
Penciling in wrong answers to finish the crossword–
Picking catshit out of a litter box too unwieldy for you to lift–
Folding laundry & lighting cigarettes you chain-smoked with your good hand–
Dropping loaves of bread you cradled in your arms like babies as you shuffled
from grocery shelf to grocery cart, while I hid in another aisle so you couldn’t see me crying–
Draining the last can of Miller High Life, which only every brought you down–

You are two-dimensional in photographs where you smile a premature old-man’s grimace and slump in defeated body posture.

You are two-dimensional in my dreams where you crack and fall apart and die all over again while I collect fragments that refuse to fit when I try to put you back together. Again. And again.

You left no words—written or spoken—that hold your Brooklyn accent or the molasses baritone timbre of your voice.

You are strangely present in those blistering pictures and in my Surrealist dreams, your silence pensively distant and helpless, so eerily yet alarmingly yourself that I can almost feel your nearness…

But you remain a virtual intangibility, a dimensionless phantom, hovering in absence, a chilly fog that never burns off, an impish ghost playing hide and seek with the key I need to unlock Sorrow’s door to pass over the threshold between us.

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