Where My Fatherhood Comes From [It Turned Into a Poem]

Jose VilsonJose10 Comments

My fatherhood is born of a desire to change
everything that happened before me. Or before me.
My fatherhood was born from not having a father figure present,
and constantly seeking them in the form of
priests, popular athletes, and men who only had time
for a yearly visit.
My fatherhood wasn’t prescribed,
for all the reading I did,
I knew I’d have to write this one out
on my own.
My fatherhood is an amalgamation of
everything that went wrong with
the abuse,
the isolation,
the fear 
tossed out the window
just to help me start over again.
My fatherhood hums where screams are appropriate,
drags where others bounced,
inhales where far too many coughed.
My fatherhood forgives
those who never taught it to me,
extinguishes the burn in my chest
where I once thought love went.
My fatherhood isn’t magic,
delivered divinely,
but something I continuously have to tend,
craft with my own hands and mind.
My fatherhood fills the shoes worn
very loosely
by no one in particular,
simultaneously well dressed and battle torn,
fully expecting to win.
My fatherhood only matters,
if the boy who receives it now
never has to feel as though he had to earn it.

Like I did.


Comments 10

  1. Wow, Jose, this is amazingly beautiful! I think my favorite line, if I had to pick just one, is “My fatherhood hums where screams are appropriate.” The idea that parenthood is like a hive of activity or a slow, soft, song… I can read this either way. Any more comments I make are going to sound all English-teachery, so I will just say again, wow.

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  2. Jose, thank you so much for sharing this. It makes me think of my husband, who is also an awesome dad. I love the line toward the end about the shoes.

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  3. Beautifully written and so honest! I find that as a grandmother, I’m still trying to “get it right”. For me, it’s about leaving the guilt behind and learning how to turn the regret into something positive. I live with the adage that it’s never to late to do the right thing. As a mother I was just so-so; but as a grandmother, I rock!

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  4. Jose,

    As I read your beautiful poem, I try to imagine your voice actually reading it….it would be so much more powerful! Have you thought about a video? I think this would be powerful for people to hear especially those who feel the abandonment you did. I would love to share it with my 7th and 8th graders and have a discussion about it’s multiple themes, especially that everyone has the chance to change despite their past. Thanks for sharing such a private feeling.

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