I search for father
in this pain, recall
limbs wrapped,
how he cried out
relief beyond reach

judged his suffering
as emotional –
a karmic penalty
for a life of tyranny –
compassion lapsed.

Now, I fight with legs
that will not settle,
arms that ache to bone,
moments inconsolable
spiralling into moodiness

seems I misunderstood –
overlooked the possibility
of genetics – pain compounded
by the guilt of impotence

curse my failure
to express sympathy,
offer comfort – the habit
of retracting into defensiveness
enacted till his death –

softness not a component
of the barriers that stood
between us…

Published by


Permission to write, paint, and imagine are the gifts I gave myself when chronic illness hit - a fair exchange: being for doing. Relevance is an attitude. Humour essential.

5 thoughts on “Genetics”

  1. A sad truth uncovered the hard way – this poem is a call to rethink our intolerances. I forgave my dad’s alcoholism years ago, but only recently did I realize it was a consequence of depression he could not control, the depression largely due to a world he could not control. I was in high school when he died – no one talked about any of this back then! Especially not to kids …

    Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.