Monday, April 25, 2016

Year of Paradox

  In a strange sort of way, it's like coming full circle—but back to what? I don't know. 35 Julys ago, my father committed suicide. He was 45. Today I turn 45, and I find myself in an incredibly pensive state of mind. It's not that I fear I'll end up like him. I have a small child of my own now. I know better. It's more like for the next year, every day will be a reminder. Every single day. Here I am, alive. Here I am, living my father's final year—well, part of it. He didn't make it all that far into his 45th year.

  I don't know. I'm in a state of melancholy right now. Not a state of depression, just melancholy, reflectiveness, bewilderment. Yes, he was abusive, and absolutely terrifying. Yes, he was controlling and incapable of recognizing that a child has only just arrived in life and doesn't yet know anything. Yes, he didn't teach and explain, but punished and terrorized. Yes, he came home only after the bars closed and woke us from our sleep and yelled, screamed, dragged us around the house and punched holes in walls. Yes, he had terrible, terrible flaws. But, he was my dad and he also showed love, tenderness and compassion. Did he think I wouldn't care? Was he trying to hurt me? I don't know. I really don't know. And I know I'll never know. Never.

  But what I do know is this. For me, this is a year of paradox, like going back in time or into an alternate reality and meeting myself, my dad, or someone that looks like him or me, and stepping into an entire year of life that is not my own, not his, not anyone's. Just a crushing and unsolvable paradox.

Year of Paradox

Now begins another year,
    and not just any other year.
  This year begins the paradox
      of all the years that came to now.

Death began this very year
    when years had barely taken root
  in crackled soils of years to come,
      now finally tapping that year of death.

Life burgeons branches into years,
    each year sprouting foliage
  that casts upon the years below
      a shadow reaching for years of life.

New years wax within the mind,
    years of rocky, raw potential,
  but even these are bound to years
      spent fearing years of nothing new.

Old years fade from memory, but
    not the year you formed a noose
  and strangled out all years to be,
      haunting through the years of old.

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