I will not die an unlived life
I will not die an unlived life.
I will not live in fear
of falling or catching fire.
I choose to inhabit my days,
to allow my living to open me,
to make me less afraid,
to loosen my heart
until it becomes a wing,
a torch, a promise.
I choose to risk my significance,
to live so that which came to me as seed
goes to the next as blossom,
and that which came to me as blossom,
goes on as fruit.
I wrote this poem the night my father died with a shrug. His heart was hollow and vacant of dreams. He was convinced he didn’t matter.
We were in very different places. He lived with my mother in a condo in the heat of Hollywood, Florida, and I lived in an icy valley outside of Norwich, Vermont. One day I was in the office where I practiced psychotherapy. Linda was trying to decide whether or not to divorce Jim, her abusive husband. I was listening intently as she spoke, when suddenly, behind her, there was my father, or what could be described as a shimmering hologram of my father. He stood, staring at me, and then shrugged. He reached toward me. The jade pinky ring he always wore on his right hand slipped past his knuckle and fell to the floor.
Linda didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary. Tears fell as she talked about Jim beating her up. My father beat me up, so I understood why she was crying. I reached over to let her know she was not alone. When I shifted my gaze back behind her, my translucent father was gone.