Too Late

Eight years ago today we consigned my father’s body to the flames. I had a difficult relationship with him. I had not permitted myself to grieve his death. Until now. The photo is the Mahabodhi tree at Gaya, India.

I look just like him now, I thought
I was looking at your photograph
Your granddaughter had posted it on WhatsApp

And I realized I feel just like you did too
Like one who wasn’t of this world
Like one who didn’t belong

We had so much we could have shared
Like our lonely, unhappy childhoods
But we both chose to look the other way

Long ago, when I was a school kid
They thought we had lost you 
My knees seemed to buckle under me

The doctors told me to find courage
I looked for it, in vain, for decades
But it didn’t come: I lost so many battles

You lost your last great battle too
The cancer had decimated your body
You were frail as a feather in your final days

That night eight years ago
As Death came to take you from me
I finally found courage 
Too late

8 thoughts on “Too Late

  1. Ram Josyula

    Holmes, fathers (and to lesser extent, mothers) always live in their sons. Your dad has not gone too far. He smiles when you smile. That is what I realized when i gained my dad upon his bodily demise in 1992. He has been living in me all along. The so called death removed the physical apparition and completed the eternal circuit. After all 50% of my genes are his! Yes, he, the old dastard, lives in me now, as beautifully as you have portrayed in the earlier part of your poem. Our cries, doubts, joys and bliss are all theirs too. So your courage is not too late – may be just in time, if time exists…
    (probably the most in depth dialog we ever had Holmes)


    1. Satyen Hombali

      Sitaram, thank you ever so much for that touching insight. I was able to look at my own poem with new eyes because of what you have said. I greatly appreciate you for this.


  2. Ram Josyula

    you are welcome Holmes.
    And, happy fathers day! I am sure you have been a father figure for lots of people in your wonderful life!


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