Love to Console Me

Lion walking through grassy path.

Posted on April 25, 2024 by Jenn Zatopek

Love to Console Me

It’s a few days before my dead father’s birthday,
which often leaves me gasping for air.
Not this year. 

I feel strong in my bones, like a mountain lion
walking her path with determination, noble
in the pursuit of what nourishes her.

The last time I heard my father’s voice, I sat
in a windowless office between work calls in Spanish,
singing, gracias por llamar el plan de salud

We hadn’t spoken in years, and I wasn’t sure he’d
answer the phone, but I put the call through anyway
because a tiny voice inside, the one who loves

speaking Spanish implored, reach out. And so I did.
We talked briefly about this or that and ended
the call singing I love yous to each other,

the stark contrast from years earlier, leaving me
basking in the sounds of his soft musical voice.
What’s it like to realize your last goodbye to

the man who taught you how to tie your shoelaces,
ride a bike, drive a stick-shift, craft a poem, was an
ordinary spring day about a year before his death?

In the pandemic, a dear friend had her baby boy after
long hard labor, near his death day and birthday,
and when I saw his little round head, I wept in relief.

It isn’t just destruction I’ll remember on this path, not just
the manic violence, the spittle of fuck yous at twenty,
the harsh criticisms received when I was a tall teen.

It will be sweet babies born mid-spring, and love
to console me: my partner and me together after
he died that early Friday morning on an impossibly

blue sky of day in April, the support of spiritual
friends who helped me pack up his dusty Dallas
apartment: Yes, these moments of deep friendship 

and real love, these too will feed me as I keep
walking my path, trusting the dignity of a strong
supple heart that’s finally fully alive.

Image: Photo by Brian McMahon` on Unsplash

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  • Reply Carolyn G

    So powerfully moving and beautiful. Thank you for sharing this with us. I just read “The Only Way Out”, written 6 years ago. I appreciate your authenticity and for not giving up on you so you can share the many gifts you have been given with us!

    May 9, 2024 at 5:44 pm
    • Reply Jenn Zatopek

      Thanks so much for reading it and for your encouragement, Carolyn! Grateful for you!

      May 11, 2024 at 9:56 am

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