Daddy I’m Not As Strong As You
written by: SmithaV
It’s four months since I saw you
It’s not the time that is the problem
When I was younger and you stronger-
I did not see you for longer
And it did not matter.
Now I’m older
And you are no longer stronger.
I call to make up for the distance
for the absence
You complain of how it all hurts – every bone in your body – it rattles
You talk of your illness- like the weather reporter in the morning news.
You talk of loneliness and your failing organs
of the medication. I understand.
You talk, I listen.
It makes me sad. I pray for you.
It makes me think, ‘What if you were with me? Would it be better?’
I know the answer
But I’m not that strong. I wish I were
If I could see you – I would feel better.
I know how you hate the camera and yet
Yesterday – you turned it on- your eyes looked bigger
I saw a twinkle – I remembered it from when I was nine.
How I loved seeing it then. How it comforted me now
Your ears looked bigger too
Your hair trimmed to a bare stubble – too short for your liking
I know. But ‘liking’ is a robe you discarded a year ago-
When you moved in to live at ‘Faith.’
I saw you smile- a flicker like a candle in the wind.
And your hand lift- to wave in the stamp-sized box on the screen.
Then I saw black – the dark tunnels of your ear
as you strained to hear –
Pressing the phone against your skull.
I talked, I repeated, I raised my voice –
You heard a whisper.
I said, ‘Bye,’
My heart felt lighter
I’d seen your eyes twinkle – kind and eager
I slept well last night
You’d done it again
banished the demons
like when I was five.
- The Gift of a Poem - May 16, 2023
- Interview Q&A With Smitha Vishwanath - March 16, 2023
- Two Years Since You Left - January 4, 2023