this would be easier, i think,
if i had more fond memories
of the two of us.

instead, my earliest recollections
of joyful times with you
come far too late: age thirteen, fourteen.
after he'd already left,
but before i'd accepted the part you played.

when i was nine years old,
i told you
i wanted to die.
you were offended.

there are not enough "sorry"s in the world
to repair this wreck of a relationship
or fit our family back together.
and even if there were,
i don't think i would want them.

you are the fuzzy figure in the background
of every violent flashback. "go,
give your father a hug," you'd say,
closing your eyes to the truth.
you didn't want to know.

maybe that's what started this -
the root of all this evil.
or maybe just i'm too quick to judge.

in later years, you disappeared,
drawn to ever-brighter obsessions,
leaving us to fend for ourselves
and taking our school pictures down
so you wouldn't have to admit we were there.

now, finally, you settle on this: god,
who takes priority over your children,
your home, over your very life.

you are happier with me gone;
count the weeks until my little brother leaves
for college; hope and pray for the day
you can move away, follow your
goddamned congregation
and forget
we ever