How was I to know then—in the shadow
of that red lacquered library, in that misting rain?
How was I to know as you sprinted Spring Street
that you would never come back to me again—
not the onery, flesh and blood, authentic you,
not the smirking, hungry, always ready to argue—you?
How was I to know you were already performing
your disappearing act, already losing yourself
by milliliters and milligrams, slipping steadily
down the rabbit hole toward oblivion?
How was I to know that you were already on your way
to gone, that I would never hear you speak again
face to face that loaded word—Dad?
Tell me, how was I supposed to know all that
when I let you go that day, when I didn’t call you back?
And more to the point—why didn’t I?