In a moment of self-reflection
I determined something sad
Perhaps I will never have a child
Until I become the father I never had
As a kid I’d approach different men
And ask if they had a son
If the answer they gave was ever “no”
I’d ask if I could be there one
Little boys need their fathers
I am a testament to that
I have spent my whole life chasing mine
And being how I thought he should act
I watched the rest of the “single mother crew”
Trying to find acceptance among our clan
But I didn’t want to be raised by kids
So I continued to pursue the Man
I had a grandpa who died when I was four
I had an uncle who was pretty cool
A guy named Chico who my mom once loved
And a couple of teachers from my school
They all had an impact on me
But it still was not enough
And though I still saw my real dad from time to time
I still needed a father’s love
So in every man I met
I looked for the best part I could find
I knew that all of them couldn’t make one dad
But part of them could be mine
So I guess you could say I’m blessed
That’s why I still pray for all my niggas
All of us who deep inside
Are still looking for our father figure
© Copyright 2019 Pedro S. Silva II
I wrote this poem almost 20 years ago—before I had my kids obviously. I came across it when looking for something in the garage. It was in a cardboard box next to my high school year book. For a moment I hesitated looking at them both. But lately, I have been thinking a lot about the presence of my father’s absence. You read that right—the presence of my father’s absence.
It is strange how we can feel someone’s distance. I felt my dad’s. Every time I found myself in a situation where I felt like I needed a dad, I could feel that my dad wasn’t there. And I imagine, that a lot of other boys in my situation felt that way too. And as men, I bet a lot of us still wrestle with that presence of absence.
Now that I have my own children, I cannot imagine intentionally being out of their lives. Still, I don’t blame my dad for not being able to be who I thought I needed. One reason I don’t blame him is because I know that I can’t judge him. First of all, what good would it do? Second of all, he must have been carrying something very painful to not have the capacity for fatherhood in the conventional sense.
To make up for the absence, I allowed the space to be filled with God and the Frankenstein father I created from the pieces I picked up–and am still picking up–along the way.
As I reflected on this and on who I experience myself as now, I like to think that everything that happened was perfect. And yet, I can’t help but wonder about those other people in my position who were never able to fill that absence—people who to this day long for what we’d hoped for in a father figure. I wonder and I pray that they become who they have always been looking for.