Father slipped into my dreams last night
(first time in years since I got out of uni).
I followed him through T-shaped sidewalks
like a long, uninterrupted tracking shot
passing dead cars in gridlock, rancid houses
marmoreal limbs of mannequins in a store
and an old haunted bakeshop bodega
where a cloud of white flour burst into jitters
landing on top of my father’s
crew-cut, militant hair.
I burst into tears when I came across
an impaired memory of the law school building.
I felt his firm, determined pull
in waking and in dreams. And I cried
as the cold breeze replaced the warmth
as I slipped away from the sought-after guidance.
Father, I have nothing for a counter offer
to the sadness of disappointment
except this false memory, this poem
except this life.