Father: Unknown

If you had been there,

In the shadowland of childbirth

between life and death,

Holding her hand through the blood and the tears

As she brought forth your seed-

Would you have stayed?

If you had gazed a little longer

Into the innocent slate of my soul

When you finally did come ‘round

To count fingers and toes-

Would it have moved you?

Would you have given me your name?

If I had wrapped my fingers around your thumb

And smiled…

Your smile, slightly crooked, and crooning

Would you have taught me your songs?

Would you have made room for me on your knee?

With the others?

I found you too late.

Too late to ask you face to face.

To gaze into your eyes to see my own,

To hear your voice

To understand my place in your life.

Would you have told me the truth?

If I had found you,

Just a little sooner-

Would I know the smell of your cologne-?

The weight of your walk,

The sound of your voice?

Was your favorite color green?

Did you dream of Ireland?

Did you dream?

I think you would have liked me

Loved me even.

If only we’d been given the chance to try.

If only.

Father Unknown is what it says on my Birth Certificate,

Next to two tiny inked foot prints

And the name of the man who wielded forceps

ripping me from the womb.

She was too proud to be unwanted,

She thought she could be enough

For the both of us.

She tried.

But the siren song of belonging

Pulled me to the cliffs

Desperate for the sight of you.

Always on the horizon of my questions,

My penny fountain wish-

If only I could reach you.

You were lost to me.

Lost until spit in a jar and  DNA code

Became the lighthouse.

When I least expected it,

When life was barely breathable and all was lost

When the foundation was smoldering

And the roots exposed,

She found me.

This sister of blood and pain

Led me to the cliff walls

Tracing for me the hieroglyphics of your presence,

Teaching me you.

In her smile, in his voice, in their laughter.

The family you left behind is my inheritance-

Maybe it is better this way.

You left me the best of you.

A treasury of discovery

As I look for you, in them,

You, in me,

As I look, I find I am a little less lost

A little less undone.

As I look at them,

I am finding you.

©Christina Dammerman 2017

 

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4 thoughts on “Father: Unknown

  1. undone…..love how the Lord is pulling the pieces of your life together NOW. And how this will move a generation of kids whose birth certificates now read “Father Unknown” this is my favorite thing you have ever written!

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