Echoes of Myself

After he died

I came across a collection of photographs of my father. 

Before he died 

I wouldn’t have been able to even glance through them. 

But now that he is safely part of my past

I can look at that part of my past safely. 


This was a new feeling–

But I had to know. 


I had to know what drew people to him.

I had to know if there was good in him,

And I had to know, am I at all like him?


I’ve always denied the parts of me that reminded me of him. 

But now my breath stops for a moment 

as I see echoes of myself 

looking back at me through the years. 

We have the same glasses.  

Which means, 

at least in some small way, 

we have the same

Face shape

Sense of style

Lens on the world. 


Were he still alive, 

this truth would hurt. 

But now, I am surprised to find it  comforting–

A connection to lineage I didn’t know I had. 

There was some good in there,

and some of it is mine. 


For here he stands in the doorway  

absentmindedly rubbing the nail of his right ring finger

with the pad of his right thumb 

while he’s thinking,

Just like me. 


Here he stands in front of a hotdog stand 

in a full beard of red hair and a bright orange jumpsuit. 

In the same moment a fuck you to convention

and a longing to belong,

Just like me. 


Here he stands in a captain’s hat and tie-dyed shirt

in front of his wares laid out on a blanket

on the ground at the flea market. 

He is such a weirdo. 

Just like me. 


Here he stands, talking with his hands

Eyes on fire

Smile so wide 

As he talks about something 

He was making or 

He cared about or

He loved,

Just like me. 


Here he stands looking straight into the camera

A little defiant

A little wounded

Totally open,

Just like me. 


And here he dances with my mother

when they were still together 

and before they decided

they wanted me.