The Inheritance

by Kristal Peace

Soccer ball on empty field as sun sets

My father
Was a busy man. He sat all day
In front of his computer. Often,
He took time to check his Smartphone
Because it beeped a lot; it needed Him.
I would try to interrupt him
Hoping we could play a game
Of tag, or hide-and-seek, or soccer.
Or even read a book together.

But he would, after I’d called his name
Six or seven times, slowly raise his head
Like a dead man emerging from a coffin,
And tell me ‘maybe later’. Monday,
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday,
Saturday, Sunday, at breakfast, lunch, and
During dinner, he sat in front of his computer

Making money. He made a lot of it,
And he bought me any toy I wanted,
Many toys I didn’t want, several toys
I didn’t need, and a few toys that were
For children much younger than me. When
I was in my 40s, my father died. The lawyer
Told me my father had left me a small
Fortune. I asked the lawyer if there
Was any way to trade my inheritance

For a game of tag or hide-and-seek,
Or a game of soccer, with my father. Maybe,
I could trade it for a book
That my father would want to read
To me. The lawyer told me my request was
Impossible to fulfill and he reminded me
That I now had a small fortune, thanks to
My father. All of this happened, this
Conversation with the lawyer, the same day

I saw a man in his janitor’s uniform playing
In the park with his son, before setting off
To clean bathrooms. I inherited poverty
While that little boy will inherit the memory
Of his father’s hand pressed into the small of his
Eight-year-old back, pushing him higher
And higher as they both laughed and
Screamed, delighted by each other’s
Company and growing rich off of each other’s love.

Category: Featured, Poetry