(For Nasudi Francine, b/c she asks questions why I have stayed away from home for so long)

Sundays remind
me of chill and rain
and your story
about your pain,
dear daughter,
caring child,
resilient recipient
of residual loves
some kind of
a sweet surrender
from a parent
who calls you
on the phone
to declare
his presence
but is always
in the cold of mornings
in the warmth of evenings
in the affirming power
of distances.

The parent you miss
does not come
with the brilliant sun
before it sets
as your mother does
or as you ask
your mother
for her to come home
before night falls
on our door
where I used to come in
into your huge smile
into your wide embrace
into your baby laughter.
He promises you bribes,
the father in a faraway place
where dreams are aplenty
and your missing each
other is real
his bribes
you do not understand:
Barbie, Dora,
crayons the color
of the rainbow after
the drizzle announcing
some singing
or chocolates he buys
from stores he goes
to vend his private sorrow,
leave it there
in the stacks of sweets
to mix with bitterness
and the promise of grace
in the wrappings of gifts
in the ribbons of boxes
to hide the telltale tears,
permanent residents
of his heavy heart.

It is always like this,
dear daughter,
caring child,
it is always like this
for all parents
leaving the land a dictator
created out of conjugal caprice
to find some signs of living
in some place somewhere else.

You have asked me
what I do here
in the land of migrants
in the land of familiar estrangements
in the land of small and big inequities
you do not see.

I tell you:
I work each day, 24/7
I dream each week,7/4
I write poems each month, 4/12
to make us live
to help the country live a life
to redeem ourselves
from this indenture in decades
from this wretchedness
of our wits
from this penury
of our broken spirits
from this deprivation
of our captive minds
twins all, doubles
to our loving
our people
to our loving
our land.

Ah, parents go away
this time around.

We all do.
Mothers missing
a child's first word.
Fathers not hearing
a child's night prayer
on her bed.

There is nowhere
else to go but
to leave the heartland
to live with a generous heart.
But we will
all come home
at the appointed time
spring or no spring
winter or no winter
summer or no summer
fall or no fall.

We will come home to roost
and remember all the loving
and remember all the days we lost
and remember all the child's pains
we missed healing.

It is Sunday here again
and the cold in this tailend
of winter gets into the bones.
I remember your singing
in the rain, and merrily so,
and your asking me
if in this strange land
the rain comes to whip
my window the way
it does in your room's.

I said, yes, rains
come into my room
even on Sundays like now
and they wash away
my window pane
where I always see you
cavorting with your angels.

Torrance, CA


Spindrift said...

So many diferrent emotions felt, a very beautiful and real depiction.

Ariel said...

Jeffrey, thank you so much. Come visit if you got time.