How do we forgive our fathers? Maybe in a
dream. He’s in your power. You twist his arm.
But you’re not sure it was he that stole your money.
You feel calmer and you decide to let him go free.
Or he’s the one, as in a dream of mine, I must pull from the water,
but I never knew it or wouldn’t have done it, until I saw the street-theater play so close up I was moved to actions I’d never before taken.
Do we forgive our fathers for leaving us too often or forever when we were little?
Maybe for scaring us with unexpected rage or making us nervous because there never seemed to be any rage there at all?
Do we forgive our fathers for marrying or not marrying our mothers?
For divorcing or not divorcing our mothers?
And shall we forgive them for their excesses of warmth, of coldness?
Shall we forgive them for pushing or leaning? For shutting doors?
For speaking only through layers of cloth,or never speaking, or never being silent?
Do we forgive our fathers in our age or in theirs?
Or in their deaths. Saying it to them or not saying it?
If we forgive our fathers, what is left?
Dick Lourie, ‘Forgiving Our Fathers,‘
Hanging Loose Press, pps 147-149,
and as appears in Sherman Alexie’s film, ‘Smoke Signals,‘
some More words on Fathers – Knock Knock
“When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years.” Mark Twain