Setting down the son

I wanted to love you beyond reason

to tuck you under warm blankets

inhale the scent of your freshly bathed skin

pressing my lips to your cool forehead

stroking your hair back from your face

so I could memorize it until dawn.

I wanted to embrace you with hugs

to protect you from the angry, vengeful world

to be your advocate for justice until you spoke

your first words in defense of your right to exist

that I could offer you a vocabulary for peace

that would last throughout your lifetime

I wanted family intimacy to gestate organically

with inside jokes created with one another

stories built upon our common history

beliefs based on a mutual understanding

goals set and met together in blood-line unity

Cherished memories transmogrified into legends

BUT

I stand here holding a bin full of dusty artifacts

every imagining I’d dreamed about abandoned

discarded into a tornadic swipe of desolation

Emptied of sacredness into the seasonal winds

My love, hugs, and hope for a family with you

have perished due to your intentional self-destruction

I mourn for you as if you had passed the veil

I see evidence of you in portraits lying happily

with smiles that don’t eat your eyes with joy

except for mine which shine with implicit trust

passionate encouragement radiates towards you

so brightly that you cringed away, scalded by love

that didn’t hurt but should have flayed your skin

because that’s what you were taught by my blood

I wish you peace.

I wish you love.

I wish you happiness.

I wish you a life worth living.

I wish you to know that I’d do it all again.

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