I pray the Lord to set me free
May you never be alone like me.
— from Hank Williams Sr.
I sit with my father in the dining room at the nursing home. It is lunchtime and every table is filled with quiet people sitting in wheelchairs. Some of them look crazy. Some of them look painfully normal.
I cut my father’s food, his pressed turkey foodage, and before I can finish I have an absolute meltdown. I ask for a pair of scissors so I can trim his wiry eyebrows, which are an inch long in places. I try not to let the clippings fall into the cold green bean salad.
Who eats these anemic-looking beans, anyway? This stuff looks like absolute crap.
I cry from that place where I can’t catch my breath. I heave with hope and rise with reality, and I hold my father. His body is so warm and I wipe away his tears. I say you are a famous poet and he says he doesn’t write much anymore. I say you were a great dad and he says he wishes he’d been better. I say you were the best dad ever. I pierce my hazels right into his soul, determined that he will know it is me. I cry again on his shoulder and he puts his arms around me and he says don’t cry baby girl, and today,
Today! My father knows it is me!