Today's prompt was to write about a family portrait. My dad and I take selfies together after our training runs most Sundays, so I thought it would be a good subject for a poem today.
Selfies with Dad
It’s hard to be his daughter,
Though we’re one and the same.
I run in his footsteps,
Always trying to keep up
With a man who doesn’t realize
He’s the stuff of legend,
A man who keeps me reaching
For the sky. I imagine this is how
Athena felt, a father so fierce,
So strong, so full of life –
Who can live up to that?
On Sundays, we worship our bloodline,
Our good health, the miracles
That keep the strands of us together
With a run. It’s what he’s taught me to do,
At first, as a toddler, as he’d open his arms
And I’d run into his embrace.
Now, we run together towards the finish line,
Sweat together, guzzle water, laugh at the pain
And beauty of life, the long road ahead,
The sunburn, the blisters, the sore muscles,
And always afterwards, an ice cold beer.
On this day, we’ve run twelve miles,
celebrate with a selfie, unabashed,
wearing matching shirts
our last name proudly displayed
across our chests, declaring
The wonder of our friendship
At this stage in life, our sameness.
In this picture, we’re standing in the sun
Of early spring, in front of my childhood home,
And together, we grin with accomplishment.
I’m looking up at his hand, his IPhone,
With one hand on my hip, posing.
My hair is sweat-washed, wind-brushed.
My face blushes red as I catch my breath.
My father, a little less experienced
In the art of the selfie,
Gazes off a little in the distance.
His sunglasses rest on his bald head.
I know one day he’ll run in my dust,
when his bad knee finally gives up
from past marathons and osteoporosis.
I know one day I’ll run these trails alone,
or if I’m lucky, maybe with a daughter
Of my own, who challenges me to be my best,
Gives it her all, huffs and puffs
Across the finish line two steps behind.
But for now, Dad and I train,
Celebrate life, our friendship,
Our mutual love for running,
Beer, and each other’s company.