I see now why I stand and frown at you
you have grown forgetful and old
and you mistook your child for another
pushed us here to the side
and threw a feast for this other
betrayed our health for his wealth,
this other who didn’t give his all,
who didn’t sift filth from nail to nail,
or scratch his feet against the gutter,
or cry out at night for a place to sleep,
sick and gasping in air to breathe.
No, this other, has yet to touch the grime of the earth
and kneel like a beggar pressing his face to the soil,
tasting it, becoming it
and awakening to a hollow impression of his poor and broken soul.
Maybe then, he can drag his feet all the way here
and be welcomed as if it were home.
Maybe then, I will have your age and your eyes
and see him as a son and a brother who had long been gone,
who had lost it all and so had I.
And only then, maybe, a feast could be thrown
for him, for me, for all of us.
But until then, father,
you are the prodigal one
and you have forgotten your own child.