Poem 28

Year by year you forget 

all the things I thought would last

Day by day you call to mind

things I hoped would pass

Words I let fly carelessly 

got tangled in your hair

You comb the knots out, crying

I can’t help you, but I care

 

There were things I could not hide

There were weeds I could not kill

It’s not like I never tried–

not like I am not trying, still

 

If I could take back every broken shard 

that tore your skin

I would, but here’s my fear–

I’d only break apart again

Perhaps along the same old 

perforations in my soul

Maybe some new fault line forms to 

swallow goodness whole 

 

There were words that brought you life

And words that brought you death

When you remember my voice, tell me 

Which do you forget?

The thousand times I said I love you 

at your bedroom door 

before I flicked the light switch

and left creaking across the floor?

The dozen times I made you shrink or cower 

at my rage

Rage that came unbidden

(can we just tear out that page?)

Or have you gone and framed it–

a reminder on your wall of

how your father failed you

How our fathers fail us all

A failure we remember, 

bitterly until the day

we recognize it in our mirrored face and 

cannot look away

 

Failure-the dark vulture-

comes to settle on the bones

Of every good intent to build a family–

a home

 

Erase the ways I made you small

I swear those words aren't true

It's you that must erase them, 

please believe me, I've tried to

 

There were things I could not hide

There were weeds I could not kill

It’s not like I never tried–

not like I am not trying, still

 

I’m trying to build up a wealth of grace

so much grace it spills over my jagged edges into your young heart so that

one day, when you write poetry that cracks you open

poetry that leaves your rhymes all broken

you open up

a memory

you thought

would wound

to find

I’ve hidden

grace

inside


Dave Von Bieker

Dave Von Bieker, 11243 85 St NW, Edmonton, AB, T5B 3C6, Canada

Dave Von Bieker lives at the intersection of art, faith, hope and love. He has 2 great kids, a fantastic wife, and a mostly good dog. He plays red guitars and drives red cars.