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The First Time – A Poem By Michael R. Hardesty

A poem by Michael R. Hardesty

The First Time

The abyss of addiction had stripped us
of the normal paternal relationship.
But I had no enmity. I knew you wouldn’t
intentionally have written such a script.

Now at your bedside I stand,
a syringe in my hand to offer relief
from the ravage of pain. We both know
that when you accept,
we’ll never encounter again.
I can see in your eyes
that your time is nigh
and opportunities are fading.
Your anguish is pervading,
so I mustn’t delay. If only I could say,
or somehow you’d display something
of our unexpressed affection.
I pray my abjection isn’t obvious to you.
The moments are too few
for me to let you down now.

How I wish we could begin again—
I as a toddler, you as young father.
But why bother to dream at a time like this?
As the morphine surges through your veins
and suppresses our pain you pull me down,
clutching my head to your chest.

I’ll always remember the uninhibited embrace
just before you slipped into that good night.
Daddy, I want you to know, on your very first try,
you got the hug exactly right.
—michael r hardesty


timeAbout the Author – Michael R. Hardesty

A graduate of the University of Louisville and Stanford University’s Certificate of Writing Program in long fiction. Hardesty is retired from his marketing communications firm, Black & White, and lives in Louisville, KY where his favorite activity is hobnobbing with his three grandchildren.  

Grace of the Ginkgo In addition to his novel,“The Grace of the Ginkgo,” his publications include two children’s picture books, “Who Made the Sun, Mommy?” and“Honey Bun and Chip.” 


Christine Crosby

About the author

Christine is the co-founder and editorial director for GRAND Magazine. She is the grandmother of five and great-grandmom (aka Grandmere) to one. She makes her home in St. Petersburg, Florida.

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