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Today's Inspiration & Writing Prompt


LEGACY

by Kathryn Dunn

What would you say to your father

if he came back--if he could--

that you haven't already said

over and over, a thousand times

in his absence, like a rosary,

Hail Mary, Mother of God; keeping yourself

bound to him with your mantra, keeping

the feel of his hand on your shoulder,

carrying it always, not even knowing it.

What could you say to the man

you have held at a distance of one stiff arm

from the moment he died, with words like

he brought it on himself, and son of a bitch.

The man about whom you could only find hatred,

stunned by memories his death allowed.

What could you say to yourself

about allowing this man his faults,

his pain, when for fifteen years

that meant wronging yourself:

if he was bad, then you were alive;

if he was good, you were dead.

That was the formula--Hail Mary

Mother of God. What do you say

when you understand

the legacy that lives in your body

is yours, and the man who gave it to you

has died. Your hatred can no longer serve

his condemnation, or yours.

You must begin to find a way

into the legacy. Carry it, study it,

learn every corner and curve--

to do any less

will freeze the shoulder that feels his touch,

the arm that pushes him out.

You must begin with

what can you say to your father

you haven't already said.

WRITING PROMPT: Write about your father's legacy within you.


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