I was my father’s confidante. I was a child
so I didn’t understand what he told me.
But the goal was just to listen. We shared
a birthmark. I have it near my left ear.
Sometimes he took me to McDonalds
where we shared a plastic booth.
I asked, how are you, like a friend.
One night, he said, I am thinking
of leaving your mother. He said,
I am sad, I am lonely. I remember
the first time he taught me
those words. No words
in Russian—Latvia, where he lived
for thirty-one years before moving
to Ohio, and then Chicago, where he met
my mother from a classified ad.
He circled her name with a pen.
He had hopes that being in love
resulted in something.