my father, my home

lines long ago formed beneath his deep green eyes
wrinkles covering his hands, spotted from age
his ears large from many years of living
his nose long and a bit crooked
his hair is unkempt, what remains of it
his eyes, squinting, from misplacing his glasses yet again
his home is messy, papers and notes surround the couch where he works at night
he apologizes for the mess and invites me in, his voice hoarse
because of the cold he’s getting over
but this is not my father

my father is young
his eyes full of excitement and possibility
for a young woman named Ruth who he can’t get his mind off of
his hands are not weather beaten, but strong
from building a home for the two of them and their two little girls
his skin dark, saturated from countless hours in the sun
his head covered in thick, brown hair
the same hair I have
he runs his fingers through it as we wait at the dinner table, my sister calmly, me impatient as always
he is a man of few words but he rubs my back when I come home crying because of a boy
and he tells us he’s sorry when he lets us down
he kisses my mother tenderly as if he had just married her yesterday
and he whispers that he loves me more as he shuts my door at night

this is my father
age and tone of skin
lines covering his body
do not determine him
his sweet soul and the way he loves his family is his identity to me