Jeddie Sophronius

Poem to a Father

 

After all this time

 

my return is still inconvenient:

you have to set up a mattress & pillows

 

out of dusty self-help books.

 

I no longer have my own room

 

& I can’t find my violin. You say it’s because I slept

with a Moslem girl.

 

I guess home is a purgatory

 

where fathers offer their children’s rooms in return for heaven.

 

This pillow says: To forgive one must say the name out loud,

one must pronounce “Father” properly. 

 

Don’t you agree,

 

My home

 

is a sculpture of my past,

a childhood song

 

I no longer remember?

 

*

 

In this shelter of a sunken temple

 

I submerged myself to sleep,

to find my body

 

in the hands of a drowned God.

 

He sank when he crossed the oceans to find my mother.

 

He gently starts praying with his eyes

as though they were looking at a dead body.

 

The way I say “Father” sounds like a broken violin.

 

I can see now, this God,

 

he is made of stone,

 

his head & cheeks are dry,

 

like the once bleeding hands

of the sculptor who created him.

 

*

 

Sleep now in this strange city

 

this moving castle.

Forget your son,

 

put a blanket over your head.

 

It will protect you from bad dreams.

 

Look at my wrists, I am still alive. There’s no need to worry,

I have had many homes,

 

Jakarta, Indonesia

 

Perth, Australia.

 

Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Homes, but none where I had a father.

 

Once, I went to school carrying an empty bag.

 

Now I drift between oceans:

 

ancestry & my mother’s old stories.

Sometimes I wish I was the farmer’s son,

 

plowing the fields with his father.

 


Jeddie Sophronius was born in Jakarta, Indonesia. He is a senior at Western Michigan University, majoring in English with an emphasis in creative writing. He currently lives in Kalamazoo.


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