Distillation of Love: A Poem

Who am I if I shed everything that you

Induced me to be?

Unlearning more

Than holding on to?

Who am I if I decide

To weave myself and my stories anew?

Would my life still be the same?

Would my name make any sense? To myself?

To you? Is there any truth left?

Transforming the detrimental energy into a life-affirming one?

You never stopped seeing yourself as a victim.

Your father’s. You loved him so much. And yet.

Your brother’s. The blame was his. In your eyes.


And your downward-spiralling life behind a

Perfect facade was everybody else’s fault. You never

Stopped seeing yourself as a foreigner, you held on

To that otherness to set you apart, to stay safe, to not

Step out of your comfort zone, reaping what was good

And judging all the bad things. You praised and hated

The country where you came from and the one you

Escaped to.


You are a man of contradictions. Your actions and words.

Love, if at all present and genuine, yet burdened and tormented,

Never let go of hate and abuse of power and betrayal.

A force that suffocates and hurts, possesses and blames,

I never saw it as an act of care or flourishing or encouraging,

Holding, tenderness, warmth, honesty, courage and solidarity.


You always stared at me, pitiful, saying you are just like me,

And I thought that was the best compliment that I could

Ever get from you. The good and the bad. At times I thought

That it was the worst thing that someone could have said about

Me, someone not knowing me at all, my potential, everything that

I could do, not you, not like you, you might have been blind to

Everything that was truly me. We never mastered the art of

Communication amongst ourselves. We shouted and shoved.


Maybe you identified the pain within me as one that you knew

All too well. Maybe you tried to help me. To the best of your

Abilities. I was convinced that I had to accept your impulse of

Destruction if I wanted your kind of love too. I never learned how

To distil the good out of you and nurture it.


Oftentimes, death, when it is too late, facilitates that and frees,

I don’t know where I stand now,

So many things remain unsaid and unseen, we never

Made it to the same page.


I once, not too long ago, yelled at you,

And you gave me that space through the phone, you, for the first

Time maybe, listened, in complete silence, letting my voice in,

And I let go of so many things that you made me go through,

The pain you inflicted, and you just asked me so I failed you as a father?


You repeated it.

And in that moment that question, tripled,

Infuriated me even more, I didn’t know why, and I thought

Nothing had landed.

You, making it about yourself again.

Not owning your failures. Never apologising. Just that question.

Nothing else.

The hanging up.


If I replay this question, now, years later,

In that voice that doesn’t exist anymore, I wonder about the subtext

That it had. The intention beneath it. How you meant it.

The possibility of you taking responsibility. You listened to me.


You let me finish.

Realising that you weren’t as perfect as you

Thought you were.

That the way you tried to make things better

Only made them worse.

I still hear your voice saying those words.

They have a different ring to them now.


They sound more like


And less like intrigue.


We managed to communicate.

You might have accepted my perspective.

My reality of you.

As a father. As your daughter.

The valley regurgitating the lava that stemmed from the volcano.

I am your daughter.

And it hurt for a long time.

But you will stay with me.

I won’t let go of the good within you.

woman face behind wet glass
Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Pexels.com

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