I’ve never feared your death.
Never caught my breath at a tremor in your hand
or read blood sugar in the flat line of your mouth
never divined pain in your eyes, or pride
(maybe never tried)
only your words, low but somehow furious,
did I raise my voice?
No, I would say, yes,
Quailing under the weight of the lives you never lived,
your stony insistence I live all of them.
You would always be there:
deathless, causeless, self-evident.

Yet
when I was five, you boarded a plane
and I went to bed every night
your name on my lips a prayer
as if I was less afraid of you dying outside my control
than of simply forgetting
you existed.

Other children cling to their fathers because they have survived—
I am bound because mine is immortal.

Phoebe Low
Phoebe Low is a proud member of the Viable Paradise Class of 2019. She lives in Brooklyn with her hypothetical cats, and can be found on Twitter @p_lowren.