To My Father, Again.

You have a heart like the universe enlarged
three-fold: vast, furiously kind, and wondrous.
Twenty-three years you welcomed me there.
Even when I left for months at a time, looked
for love and comfort elsewhere, you gave
me the keys to take with me. I took you
with me. I stole your eyes and your nose
and your smile and a pint of your blood
and you never asked for them back.

You have a heart like the universe enlarged
three-fold and every minute I watched it grow
wider – a mysterious phenomenon, a medical
miracle. Every time I looked in, I looked
away mesmerized; fascinated, perplexed. I told
you I wanted one too, so you gave it to me:
a starter-kit version; I was never able to make
it grow like the muscle in your chest. You
watched me grow headstrong and stubborn,
and loved and loved and loved me ’til I grew
soft and you grew softer.

You have a heart like the universe enlarged
three-fold but sometimes it weighed down
on you, walked out of your chest and rested
on your shoulders. I was thirteen the first
time I could see the agony hidden from us
safely behind your eyes, so I taught you how to
hold me, took your arms and pulled them
around me, and slow and steady you
unlearned decades of distance.

You have a heart like the universe enlarged
three-fold. Every one has a house there, a
safe-haven, every one who knows you calls it
home.

You.

You were my heart, and my heart was in a
hospital bed, twenty-six days still smiling, a
patient patient, my superhero dressed in my
baba’s suit, whispering “I love you” through
the blood and the pain:
a home to us all –
just waiting to go home.

You were my heart, my heart, my light,
my forehead-kiss goodnight,
my heart, my heart, still in my heart,

I carry you with me wherever I go,
I carry you in my heart.

You had a heart like the universe enlarged
three-fold.

You had to go, but I’m still daddy’s little girl,
I still call it home.

*Disclaimer: The 45-46th lines of this poem were inspired by E.E. Cummings’ poem “i carry your heart with me”.

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