I remember crying as a boy
to my father who rested my head
in his lap as the tears collected over his thigh,
a new wet bruise from where my eyes
had been. I can’t remember what I cried about—
the pain or loss I must have felt—
but I know now that faith has lost me
and burned me of my energy.
Hiding has become a game for you and me—
you know the one we always play
where we walk into the woods—you hide
but only after beating me to my knees.
Then you call my name and I must
find you, punch-drunk, broken in my stumbling.
I crawl searching and try to reason but nothing
in my head can make sense of this.
You sting me with the sounds of my own name
every time you call me through the trees.
Father, my head doesn’t need the beatings,
my head doesn’t need you at all
and I can pick your truths away
like petals on a flower and decide
how much your love means to me. You want
everything I have—my words unwritten,
the clean white of my mind, purity,
and questions answered only in my faith.
And though I don’t want to remember
any of your words, they never leave—
all are here, left clear as tears, icons
to my own devotion—they break me—
even when my mind says no, I only
want to answer you with yes.