(For Thelma who helped make it possible by the greatness of her love.
Please know that I love you too.)

I know you love me, Dad.
It just took me a while to see the truth.
You helped give birth to me.
You fed and clothed me.
You did your damnedest to impart your values.
You suffered the pain and joys of parenting.
(Probably much more pain than joy could ever bring.)
And even when I wrecked the car,
you loved me enough to do no more harm
beyond that of your greatest disappointment.

and Dad, i loved you;
even though i was afraid of you;
even though you physically punished me
to the point of drawing blood;
even though i never felt you loved me,
disassociating yourself from me, my brother and sister,
when mother ran away; and
even when i tried to show you how i had changed
after all these years of passing.

Now I stand before you,
my arms encircling your shoulders stooped with age;
my son filled with joy in your presence: His grandpa!
I whisper in your ear, “Dad I love you”
and your voice returns these words
so desperate all these years to hear,
“I love you too.”

There is peace in my heart, Dad,
as the rain falls
and I stand in the lines filled with children.

lloyd marbet  5/17/99