i said, “you can never go back.”
he growled—30 years of jungle rot rattled in his throat.
he said, “you’re not hearing me. sometimes i want to go back and pick up the pieces that i left behind.”
—Timothy Matthew Perez
For months, I’ve found myself gravitating towards writing poetry and prose about my father. It was the only way I could process the reality of his diagnosis—stage IV brain cancer. It was the only way to digest the chronicity of his fate. And it has now become the only way I can get through the fact that three weeks ago today, he left this world. I kept questioning whether or not these pieces would be too intimate to share, in the sense that they wouldn’t be understood. It’s my father, our story, who else would really find themselves resonating with *this* type of poetry? Insert The Savagery of Bone.
With the first poem, literally called “Father’s Dreams,” I was hooked. All the questions I pondered over whether or not a book, almost entirely focused on fathers, could be collection worthy, were answered. Perez builds, with his bare hands, a jaw dropping sculpture of fatherhood—chiseling the details of PTSD, abandonment, and the overwhelming struggle it is to be a parent. It brings to life brilliantly the necessity and beauty of vulnerability in men, in parenting, and in growing up.