Ghost prisoner dances in an old window.
The girl dies when the music stops
and this house has been quiet for years now,
with footsteps echoing through the cracks in the attic floor
but never reaching the bottom of the stairs
I wonder how many haunting are self-imposed.
Don’t cry tonight, my baby. . .
Last week, I saw something I thought I’d never witness.
Saw a man’s stone façade falter
alternate between guilt and sadness
the now and the then
the past and the present
but now. . .I can see the spirit fading from his eyes
tell he is human for the first time
and see he is not a polished rock flowing from the river of family photos
my father is no stone.
He’s simply a trucker.
And in the sleeper of a semi it’s nothing but him
his radio and his memories
dancing in the swaying of curtains and sounds like
similes when you’re trying to write a poem
always present but just out of reach
so he captures them in homemade music boxes.
Don’t cry, you’ll always be loved. . .
And ‘always’ is always longer when you make a decision you can’t take back,
so he finds solace in songs and sheet music
jagged and smudged like the signature across the bottom of a release form.
passes through these walls like a phantom, fast as a haiku like
a stranger to me.
Often wonder if our eyes
are the same color.
He dances in that window
a captive my father cannot let go
waiting for the day that 15-year old feet
bounce off the bottom of the landing
and out the door
to rebel against him
bring back a report card, a trophy, a girl, a mistake
but that sound never comes
when my father’s memory is only lit by that window
and I wonder how much harder it is to abort a child
when you can look him in the eyes.
Now I realize why he always tells me
to appreciate the beauty of the little things.
Knowing that even though his blood runs through that boy’s veins
he’ll never be there to keep Brandon warm again
knowing he held a masterpiece in the palm of his hand
and let it free for the “better life” he was promised
giving up on the music he made with a lover
I’ve judged without truly knowing.
Nothing I could say could make the music box gears spin
I could cry moment but that them up again
and the silence in my father’s house is deafening.
Maybe that’s why I left.
I could make him proud
I could make him smile
But I’m only one son.
And even when I have the audacity to wonder
how often he dreams of Brahm’s lullaby
or days playing in the Colorado snow –
I know there is no poem
that can bring Brandon back but please poppa
if you can listen to the music instead of just making it.