For Paul

I can still hear you calling to me,
In the way your voice would gently croon,
Raspy from 50 years of smoking,
But still carried a velvety tune,
White teeth peering out through wine-stained lips,
A smile stretching from ear to ear,
Miles of crow’s feet ’round dreaming eyes,
You would embrace me once I got near,
Stammering, swerving, slurring your speech,
But love pouring through all of that haze,
Sure, fine, you were a bit of a drunk,
But you went back to the good ol’ days,
Always treating me like a daughter,
Telling me stories about my dad,
You painted this picture of a king,
When reminiscing of times you’d had,
Adventure, fashion, women, and cars,
You’d make him out to be so damn cool,
Revering your hip older brother,
While he regarded you as a fool,
He’d hate you as you’d stumble around,
And make everyone laugh when you’d dance,
I know you have said some fucked up things,
He wouldn’t give you a second chance,
He always held on to his grudges,
That was my father’s battle–not mine,
I always loved being around you,
And I regret not making more time,
You and Maria were good to me,
Your apartment was so inviting,
You made me feel heard and respected,
When against the world I was fighting,
The holidays are here once again,
And it won’t be the same without you,
A piece of our family is missing,
And we have dwindled down to so few,
I would give anything to fix it,
The rift that drove you and dad apart,
My spirit aches for your friendship lost,
And that he carries it in his heart,
You came to me in a memory,
And guided me to make a poem,
Godfather, you’re never far from my mind,
So I know that I’m never alone.

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