Lost Childhood

by David Ignatow

How was it possible, I a father
yet a child of my father? I
grew panicky and thought
of running away but knew
I would be scorned for it
by my father. I stood
and listened to myself
being called Dad.

How ridiculous it sounded,
but in front of me, asking
for attention—how could I,
a child, ignore this child’s plea?
I lifted him into my arms
and hugged him as I would have
wanted my father to hug me,
and it was as though satisfying
my own lost childhood.

“Lost Childhood” by David Ignatow
Against the Evidence: Selected and New Poems 1934 – 1994. © Wesleyan University Press, 1993.

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