You were gone before my mind
could grasp the brush which paints
faces on memory's canvas.
Vaguely, flashes of an open grave
on a sunny winter's day -
bare feet on my fourth birthday -
and pitiful looks from unfamiliar faces.
But I remember lonely childhood days
when I would visit your grave
bringing flowers picked from sandy fields -
And other times I would just come and cry
when it seemed I was the only child
in the whole wide world without a mother.
Poverty sent you to an early grave
and was my childhood's constant shadow.
Of all your children I was the lonesome one,
always seeking solace in solitude,
always wandering in lonely paths,
an exile from embracing arms
and motherly healing kisses.
Through the years I tried to reconstruct you
through siblings' tales of your mothering,
Although heredity ensures that part of you
will live in me and will continue in my off-spring
I felt I needed more than scientific fact
to find meaning in my sense of being.
Death has stripped me of you
but death has no power over love.
I am a fruit of your love, and as long
as I am able to approach someone in love,
I am connected to you. You are long gone.
I am still your son.