Such hopes that were had by my dad
Are not the ones I want to have,
Nor wish my sons to have, nor their sons
On down as far as luck and streetsmarts
Will get us. Try as I always do to find
Something lacking in him (believe me,
There's quite a lot missing) I can detect
Nothing unusual, unaccounted for, no whim
Of history to distort his natural correct.
Over the years I've learned I should trust
Rejecting, and then affirming, my father's gifts:
Shrugging my shoulders in a far-flung place,
Which for another might turn it all murderous
And set the whole family permanently adrift.
I'm his firstborn. He calls me "the disgrace."