Butch Poem 4: Losing a FatherElizabeth Bradfield
With him, something left her, some hook by which she gaffed the world and held it to sense, to love, to logic despite the awkward ground she'd learned to claim. His best son, at his side she cleared gutters of leaves, shoveled the drive, changed the Chevy's oil, sat back after dinner heavy in a chair. She learned to be a gentleman. Hard at first for him to see her tapping out his cigarettes, wearing his old belt and shoes, to see what she took as her own. He came again to love her, and to love even what rested silent between them. And she knew her luck. But when he died some of her swagger, some of her bullheaded sureness, some hope to be praised for the likeness she'd made was shaken. I have no metaphors to lend this, just witness to her decentering, just certainty that only the loss of her mother —the self she made herself against— could be more difficult.
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