A man discovers his long estranged son at the point of death.

I remember standing
With sunlight sheeting
Through frosted window glass
Holding you at one month old
Your scrawny fingers
Tight around mine
Your wide trusting eyes
Staring into my eyes
And beyond my eyes
I made a solemn promise
To the bundle of love that was you
“I will never leave you nor forsake you”
I broke my word
I left you and forsook you.
That is my guilt – that is a pain
That is an ache that has no healing
I can repent, I can regret
But I cannot repeal
You made it hard to love you
But not impossible
I should taken one small step perhaps
To stand in the gap
Arms stretched wide
To block your headlong rush
Into the void that I foresaw
But you ignored
I don’t ask forgiveness
I will not seek absolution
The time’s too short for restitution
I should have seen the despair
Behind your reviling eyes
And fists of fury.
I should have looked into your eyes
And read the need behind your rage,
“I hate you but I love you.
Damn you, I want to love you!
Curse you, love me! I love you!
I don’t know how to love you!
Teach me how to live!”
But I blinked
And in that moment of unseeing 
You slipped away.
As I hold your broken body,
Your head rests limp against my breast
My heart beats strong
Yours is faltering.
I wipe your blood running nose
Your sweat and blood forehead
You stare with saucer eyes
Beyond me into the vacuum
You blindly chose.
Your life is slipping away
It should be my life.
You should be kissing my forehead
You should be holding me
You should be whispering
Comforting words.
I will cry in an empty room
My tears will flood an empty page
When you reviled me
I despised you in return
I traded hate for hatred
I should have loved
I failed.
I broke my solemn pledge
I should have loved you
Far beyond love
I did not
I failed

© coolhermit 2023
Views: 1241
critique and comments welcome.
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Powerful stuff as ever!


Great emotional poem.Well done. Peter,

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