A Father’s Long Walk with Reality


Smacked by an enormous impact of shame
Brain drained from searching unchartered memories
Those times that will never be sitting in the depths of me
Consumed by my own cocoon
Burdened by my unfit deeds
Those responsibilities that I failed to meet
Makes it hard to face the mirror’s reflection,
That’s suggesting I tie up the loose ends
Begin again like those yesteryears never happened
Yet, I’m still haunted by my actions and my nightmares
Leave me drenched in my children’s tears
This distance can’t comfort confused fear
Or change how they truly feel
The wonderment hurts like self-imposed punishment
While my children shoulder the blame and their mothers
Picked up the weight of my mistakes
Left feeling like a lamebrain trying to explain away the pain
Painting a paradox of how life is give and take
That wrong and right are the two roads of reality
But my love wasn’t enough to keep me home and they’re feeling
Like they did something wrong
Cause I wasn’t there when they needed me the most
Never seen them learn, never watched them grow
My presence holds the essence of a ghost
And my name is all they’ve ever known
Since infant to full grown
I was just a figment of their imagination and they easily erased it
Replaced it–with their own image of a glorified hero
Making him better than me–smarter than me
More swag than I had
With more virtue than can fill a paper bag
And I’m cool with that as long as they don’t
Follow in my footsteps
Wishing that one day all this will make sense
A father’s long walk with reality


  1. Reid Baron on February 10, 2017 at 1:21 PM

    Powerful. Maybe you don’t need “enormous impact” in the first line, could have “Smacked down by pain” or such. But there’s no communication problem here. Keep up the good work, let’s see more.

  2. Mikhail on February 13, 2017 at 10:11 PM

    Dear SH,
    I grew up without my Dad so this poem hit right home with me.
    I want to encourage you that you have a positive hope that future generations will do even better than you… that is a hope we all have. Know that your future generations also have positives to look up to and follow, like your ability to stop and look back but most importantly look forward. Keep looking forward! You are an inspiration!

  3. Patrick Riviere on February 24, 2017 at 3:54 PM

    Thanks for sharing this poem. I really like the line “The wonderment hurts like self-imposed punishment.” I can feel the pain you have by not being able to be there for your children. I hope that you can find a way to move forward. I’ll be thinking of you.

  4. Mark David Goodson on March 20, 2017 at 1:48 PM

    Beautiful stuff. I believe it will all make sense. In this piece, it already does.

  5. John on March 23, 2020 at 12:50 AM

    I pray that it all works out for you, and your family. Trust God and believe in Him and that He will guide you in bring you and your family through.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

The poets featured here are currently incarcerated, and many of them are in federal prisons far from home. Your feedback is a valuable source of motivation and connection to the outside community. Post your comments, feedback, and encouragement in the space below the poem. Messages will be passed on directly to the author. Comments may not appear immediately on the site, as our team processes them to mail to the poets.