Dad

I was asked recently to describe my first clear memory of love,
to reach into my subconscious and come up with a coherent explanation of that emotion,
untainted.
Strip away cultural influence, social impressions,
dig beneath preconceived ideas.
So I dove into the fog of nostalgia,
armed warily with my memory lamp,
sure that the damp of time would cause the flickering light to fade
and I would be left in soggy darkness,
stranded,
and straining not to answer in impersonal cliche.

But

fog has never felt so soft,
wispy tendrils wrapped me into infancy
and you were there above me
madly blaring midnight Blondie
because for some reason it helped six month old me sleep.
You twirled me round the living room,
so careful with my baby heart of glass.
You bounce me up, and down, spin me round and
I am six years old now,
teetering on the roof,
convinced that my patchwork raggedy-anne blanket will serve as a mighty fine parachute.

You ran rings around the garden,
arms held out in heavenly surrender.
My landing pad, my safety net, your own flesh my shining armor.
Paternal knight you were my cradle
and I your rockabye babe.
No matter how high the tree I climb,
I trust your bow will never break.

I hold my memory lamp to my chest, warmth spreading in its wake,
I feel my fragile head on your chest,
your voice echo through my head,
dinner party finally winding up.
I am wound in fog no more, I reverberate strong and clear.
Your ocean deep voice lapping gently,
contently,
lulling me to sleep.

Photograph by Jaymi-lee Miller

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