To a Father, Never Known
By Louis Faber
July 15, 2023
July 15, 2023
You were to be my prophet
and you played Jonah one morning
by clutching your chest at the sink
and dropping to the floor, dead.
You left me to wander
through Ninevah, a beggar
twice robbed of origin
ground pulled from beneath my feet.
Why did you flee your task
the one for which you were anointed.
Couldn’t you see our home laid ruin
consumed by its own wrath, nothing
to heed, no voice to which to turn.
You left me to find my own shade
certain the worm would arrive
and leave me in the midday sun.
All you left were the words of others,
a momentary Moses, who, facing the waters
fled deep into the desert, leaving us
anchored to the shore, then to wander
one lost, two in endless search.
Each year we recall your failure
though it grows increasingly dim,
faceless, a play whose protagonist
will not exit the wings.
Why did you hide
in the belly of the beast.
Why, when dry land was offered,
did you settle deeper
into Sheol’s bowels.
Was the task so hard
you had to turn away
was I so threatening,
you saw no option
preferring the sea
to treading with me
through the wilderness.
Louis Faber is a poet living in Florida. His work has appeared widely in the U.S., Europe and Asia, including in Glimpse, South Carolina Review, Rattle, Pearl, Dreich (Scotland), Alchemy Stone (U.K.), Flora Fiction, Defenestration, Constellations, Jimson Weed and Atlanta Review, and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.