Prayers for my Father

My father gave me his youth
for my own. He gave me nights catering to my fear
of the dark; whispering “Lay down. Read your prayers.” My ears
would fill with the words of God and my father. They soothed
me to sleep. In the mornings, it felt so rude
of me to wake him, the sun barely up, tears
of sleep still in his eyes; a worn man
who had given me his youth.

Our fathers and their angry love
and their frustrated, stubborn wisdom
craft our skin and bone into manhood.
Our fathers, weary enough,
are the ghosts chasing us into what we become;
their holy souls for fatherhood.