The Year of My Father’s Cancer I Watched 120 Hours of Star Wars
The nights I lay below your hacking and heavy steps to the bathroom
were full of hyperspace blue. Low thrum of lightsabers and spinning blasters
wielded by space fathers: I imagined you were invincible in beskar and I was
loaf-sized still, slung on your hip, shrieking at the speeder’s dangerous velocity.
All year I played and replayed The Mandalorian
just to hear Din rasp, It’s time to go. Don’t be afraid.
to the child the size of a kitten in his armored hands
my eyes wet as the blast doors close between them.
You never told us it was time. Clung to hope: bile up the throat
until your liver gave out. The toxins ushered you to the other world
before we could script a goodbye, your last words to me mysterious code.
I weep watching Vader’s farewell because I know:
Sometimes we cannot save our fathers.
Instead of tossing flame to the pyre on Endor
we gather on linoleum. Watch the cardboard box through the glass
as it delivers the body that is no longer your body into the furnace’s core.
Father, I forgive you for what you couldn’t say.
There’s a field where you chase me giggling
through the gold-licked grass, and we clash twigs
in battle between a tree’s outstretched arms.
I trace the dark above Earth where you taught me
to find bears and dippers in city-hazed sky
where I know it’s the wink of a falling star
that promises, I’ll see you again.