Eight Years

Eight years he’s been dead.

He is always what is missing. His absence haunts me.

For eight years, he’s been buried in the earth.

For eight years, we have not spoken, touched, or known one another.

I’ve had eight birthdays without him.

I’ve graduated high school and college without him.

He was not there when my grandmother died or when my uncle died.

It is true that life goes on, but, with each year, there is less of me.

I had a father. In the pictures of us, we sit side by side, his arm around my shoulder, his smile so beautiful. I hear his voice in my mind. That’s the only place it speaks because I have no recording of it. Sometimes, I dream of him and wake up believing that he is in the next room, waiting to hold me again.

I had a father. We loved each other.

Where is he now? How can that smile, that soul, be no more?