A Poem by Robert Burkhead

My feelings as a father on my son’s current path.

By Robert Burkhead

The child slips into the waters edge to join his friends. The cool waters pull at his flesh inviting him forward.

He feels excitement and fear as the chill grips his chest. His breath shortens to small quick gasps. This hurried panting subsides as he plunges deeper into the cool unfamiliar waters.

The froth along the rocks and eddies offer the promise of new experiences. The excitement rises and urges him forward into the unknown.

I see the danger and call for my boy. He does not respond.

Many children fear the dark and unfamiliar waters. Some gather at its edge, wade in then quickly step away. Others have heard and heed the warnings of those before them. They and steer clear altogether.

My child, refuses to listen. Possibly blinded by excitement or comradery, he’s lured deeper into the unknown.

One after another those who remain in the river loose their footing. The strong current shifts the rocky floor and grabs at their heels. The turbulent rush of water pulls and tugs at their footholds. They slip further into the waters depths.

As they stumble and fall heads are pulled under time and time again. They now feel the danger as they struggle and gasp for air.

As my son gains his breath and lungs choke free his fear fades. I’m amazed and dumbfounded as he resumes exploring the murky waters.

These children urge and convince one another the dangers are slight or imagined. Every mishap and every friend lost is forgotten or justified away.

I reach and grab for my child trying to save him. Throughout my life I’ve watched others who have drowned or lost themselves in these waters.

In a process that repeats itself along these banks, parents and friends reach for their loved ones. Some recoil while a few reach back, grab an extended hand and momentary lift a tired head above the waters surface.

As soon as my son regains his breath he fights my grasp. He bites and claws to return to his addiction. He sinks into the water’s depths until he, like thousands before will become lost forever.

I’m left broken and alone.

© 2017 Robert Burkhead

Author's Note

Robert Burkhead
Please review, good or bad I’d love some feedback.

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Added on November 5, 2017
Last Updated on November 5, 2017
Tags: Addiction, parenting, Drugs, Alcohol, love


Robert Burkhead
Robert Burkhead

Saint Johns , FL