Jackie Lopez Lopez
When I left home, my father said don’t you cry.
I gave him an apple for my rehearsal dinner.
My father spoke perfect English and Spanish.
He gave me my Puerto Rican eyes and my Spanish sir name and the alphabet soup.
My dark skin scared his family but made him want to send me to Germany for drum lessons.
He gave him an invisible thread of patrimony.
I never left him, although, I swam naked in the sun.
He was from the Bronx and thrifty and had shiny white skin.
He owned a building, and he saw spirits in the basement.
I was 3 when he came home drunk and hit me with a rum bottle.
My father loved me irrefutably and was never cross with me.
My father was a shaman fighting demons on the street.
He was the hero of the angels.
And, the fear of the merciless.
He saved the world on a daily basis.
I took his blood and turned it into a pen.
When I left my father, he said I would fall asleep on welfare.
I never cooked without a food stamp in my mouth.
I was wicked poor.
I was the envy of the third world children though.
And, shame paid for my room and board.
Worse things beyond poverty were to happen to me.
I was 7.
When I was 11, my father died from heartbreak on the streets.
He couldn’t live without me.
Recently, my father spoke to me in a fierce dream
and told me to go plant a flower.
Now, I fight demons on the street, am the hero of angels, and am feared by the merciless.
The world saves me on a daily basis.
When I leave home, I will not cry.
I love you, father.