Father

To men who made us
To men who raised us
And to the men who raised them
The ones who showed our fathers how to be decent
How to be kind
How to be steady
To the men who stayed

To those, even, who did not and

To the boys who fumbled in the absence of a good man
Who had to squint at the negative space to find the gifts of their manhood
And became whole

To the boys who couldn’t, and could only see the loss
Who grew into men that used their father’s broken tools
To build homes out of themselves where the floorboards are loose
And wind screams through the gaps by the windows
When the storms come

To the men our brothers will be
To the sons they will raise
To the men who will emerge from the
Tiny souls that I am tending
The boys who call me Mama

To the men who will love my daughter
To the men who love my sisters
To the men who love my friends
And turned them into mothers

To the men we lost and the men we grieve
Their faces in old photos, pure joy as they hold their grandchildren, their great grandchildren
Just as they held us
To the Papas who come home dirty and tired from a long day of hard work
And roll in the grass with shrieking children anyway
While Mamas watch from the kitchen window
Who a grown daughter watches for in her memories and searches for
In the faces of the men who might love her

To men
Who are the home where the heart of their family beats
I love you
I love you
I love you

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