the writing of kuypers
2001-04-09 14:39:28 (UTC)

father's tears

father's tears

I never really knew him.
I knew the smell of his work boots
from the construction site,
I knew the smell of the martinis
waiting for him at home.
I knew the sound of his walk:
his ankles cracking,
his keys rattling.
I knew the sternness of his voice,
and I knew
that around me
he only smiled for photographs.

Emotions had their place for him.
He reserved happiness for friends,
anger for home.
In everything he did and felt
he showed strength and power.

I've seen him cry twice.

Once he cut his hand with a saw.
I saw fabric four inches thick
soaked with blood around his hand.
I saw the drops of blood on the car seat.
He drove himself to the hospital.
He was always in control.
But I heard the tears of pain in his voice.
I stood in the driveway and cried.

Once I heard him arguing with a friend.
I heard his voice from the hallway,
but I didn't recognize his voice at all:
it sounded confused, weak. Distraught.
I walked up to the door,
looking through the square window.
His voice choked and gasped.
The muscles in his face were contorted,
and it was as if the wrinkles
in his eyebrows cried,
"How could you hurt me so?
How could you do this to me?"
It was as if he screamed at being weak.

I moved away from the door
before he could see me. But I still
heard his voice; I had to run outside.

I think I didn't want to believe
that he was human.