Counter Offer

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.

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