Poem Hunter
The Longest Mile
AC (12-16-1981 DOD: everyday / )

The Longest Mile

Poem By Amberlee Carter

I walk with my father into
the heart of the lion,
the maelstrom of paternal love-

I do not know at this age
what is to come-
but these stars flare like
dismal fireflies; away from me- into
the hand of this man who cannot be told
the difference between:
innocence and patience-
who cannot be loved in such a way,
his hands will turn tender and his eyes

Like the years of his life
his tongue carries a spark- and while
he receives wisdom from the Watcher,
he does not wake long enough to teach me:
the difference between grace and faith.

My father and I walk in long strides,
back and forth the wheat isles-
through valleys he recalls as a child who
walked with his own father.

What is strange;
this man never turns
to one side or the other-
glances this way, or in that direction-
but he creates the field
I will cultivate everyday until
my back breaks.

I walk with my father under
silver lined clouds that
accumulate too late in life- he fears
my tomorrow at the mercy of his hands
that are labored beyond salvation- tonight,
we step out onto the porch beneath
the summer solstice moon- and he says:
“ daughter, I have stories, many
stories to share with you”

It’s late evening and
the hour has already began to wane-
every moment he spends, sipping lilac wine
and reciting the days of his youth
as if it were my own- I learn neither the difference between:
the lesser of two tragedies;
his past, the absolute failure- and
my future, harboring the greater grief of being
without a father.

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