Concessions of a Blind Man

We lost our father.
As he laid in his smoke-filled coffin
with hand-crafted nails,
my mother hugged me close.

My brother was still in wonder of death.
He couldn’t figure out how dad could
hold his breath for so long.
He tried and passed out.
At least he was quiet on the ride home.

I learned how to cook eggs first.
Then meatloaf,
then pizza
and fish
and soups.

I learned how to tie shoes,
and drive,
and drop off
watery-eyed little men
in little suits,
and kiss goodbye,
and be proud like a good father.

I learned how to fight
and slam doors,
and drink too much,
and rely on black coffee.

I learned that my brother
knew that I was always going
to be older than him,

I suppose

that meant I would
always be wise…
I learned what it meant to
truly cry,
and know that I would
never live up to his
greatest expectations.

And as I sat back, wishing it all
to go to hell,
I remembered that,
when I cradled his head
in my lap
and felt him fall asleep,
we were both still children.

-JR Simmang


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