Father Dream (Pieces): A Poem

The father Rick Belden escaped returns in unexpected ways.


I dreamed I saw him one more time
he was staying with my brother
I was visiting.

he looked so old
I could see he wasn’t feeling well
when I asked how he was doing
he told me

I want to go home
to my home

I knew he meant his little house in the north

2000 miles from here
the one where he’d lived

since he and my mom divorced.

he said

I’ll take the bus

and I said

let me drive you
just tell me when you’re ready

but when I wasn’t looking
he snuck out to walk to the bus station
to take that long ride home


I wanted to do something for him
I thought this might be my last chance
but he wouldn’t have it

maybe it was pride
maybe something else

but whatever the reason

he wouldn’t

and I sat sobbing silently


now my drinking cup is cracked
and the small white plate

that’s held my food every day
since I left home at nineteen
to get away from him

falls to pieces in my hands.


Copyright © 2010 by Rick Belden.  This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.


Read more Father’s Day stories on The Good Life.

—Photo credit: Orin Zebest/Flickr

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About Rick Belden

Rick Belden is the author of Iron Man Family Outing: Poems about Transition into a More Conscious Manhood. His book is widely used in the United States and internationally by therapists, counselors, and men’s groups as an aid in the exploration of masculine psychology and men’s issues, and as a resource for men who grew up in dysfunctional, abusive, or neglectful family systems. His second book, Scapegoat’s Cross: Poems about Finding and Reclaiming the Lost Man Within, is currently awaiting publication. He lives in Austin, Texas.

More information, including excerpts from Rick’s books, is available at his website. His first book, "Iron Man Family Outing," is available here. You can follow Rick Belden on Facebook.


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