The gods, they say, are eternal.
I was three when you taught me to read,
fascinated by the dragons in the picture books,
as you slowly sounded out the words in this second language.
Four years later, you ran behind me,
strong brown hand braced on the back of the bike.
Then, heart in your throat, letting me go.
At fourteen you sent me to private school,
bolstering, unknowingly, a seedling independence.
Then you watched, silently proud, as I boarded a plane for college.
And, missing you, I remember a moment.
A full decade past, the blue airmail letter arrived to tell you
your father, half a world away, had died.
Your tears then foretold my own,
anticipating a moment still far away, inevitably close.
When I, half a country away, will receive that call.
The gods live forever.
Why should heroes have to die?
November 23, 1992