COVID-19: Reach Out With Your Heart – Donate Today!
« Return to Blog

The Suicide’s Father – A Poem

Baron Wormser, Former Poet Laureate of Maine.

Everything has become a museum.
Where I live is where I lived.
My face in the mirror in the morning
Was my face. I am here the way a chair
Or painting is here. I have weight and
A meaning I cannot possess.

We walked to the war plaza, bought bags
Of popcorn, watched the jugglers and mimes,
Walked home through the lamp-lit twilight.
It was a Sunday in early spring.

What do you do when the past is
No longer yours? I was a simple man.
I thought it was something that could not
Be taken away. I would have it
For always.

In those stances, excursions, mornings—
Even in laughter—I see death.
It is wrong but that is what I see.

I have put my purposes in a burlap bag
And thrown them in the river and watched
Them sink. It did not take long.
It is cold in that river and now when I walk
I wander like a tramp or bored pensioner.
People avoid me or banter courteously.

You, my boy, are never mentioned.
That is for the best. I have
Committed a crime but am not sure
What it was. It is a crime where there
Are no police or reports or even lies.
It is a crime of meals, presents,
Postcards, worries, lullabies.

There was the time you asked for money,
The time I didn’t hear from you for months.
But we have those times and live.
We come around. We walk through a door
Into the right, welcoming room.

I spoke gladly concerning you:
My son this, my son that.
My son built little, wooden airplanes
That really flew. I was proud. Like the mime who
Could not open an imagined door, you frowned.

You were in the river for days
Before they found what they said was you.
I had to say it too.
On what was a hand was a ring.

What was there before this
To think twice about?
Everything. Everything