Letter to a Father

by John Hughes

(The protagonist is Thomas Jefferson's slave)

Dear Father, Dad, Pa, the man that sired me:

I thought about you today
Wondering if 
I really mattered to you
I did the best I could
I did what you asked me to do
I know you cared about me

I just don't know how much

Not enough to not sell me because I looked too much like you
Sold me 
From the job, from the house, from my roots, from Ma
Even though I worked in the house and not outside
I know I was better than them, not as Black because I was yours

But still a slave

Was it my red hair and freckles or the blackness in my veins that you objected to 
‘Cause it is all part of my Americaness
I was part of the birth of a nation, not the movie but the for real
America, my home
But I don't own it like you do
Not just the land, the house, the crops and the people, the spirit

They don't notice me till they want something
To blame
To shame
At best to fetch or be entertained by
Made you feel better sometime

Why did you forsake me, like God forsake Jesus
Did my death avenge your sins?
I did not get no forty acres and a mule
I had to buy my own Cadillac

I did not need it though, what I needed was your love

I feel like I been rode hard and put away wet
Beaten like a motherless child

Maybe because I was


Why did you throw me out like the trash?
Only difference was you got paid

Sometimes it hurts so bad I don't know if I can stand it
I helped build this country
It is who I am
But you treat me like a step child
Even when we all are children of God

But I am here, America and American too
Was Asian, Latino, African and yes European
We all your children
Finding love where we can, sometimes in the wrong places

I may lay with another man or another woman
I may worship Allah, Yahweh, Buda, Jesus, Brama, something else
And look like something between a Greek or Roman God and an African Priestess

You disposed of me out of convenience, economics and expediency

I won't do that to my children
Because I am what it means to be an American
Being at the bottom of the heap but getting to the mountain top
Mine eyes have seen the coming of the Lord
Because these truths are self evident, all men (and women) are created equal
 And I pursue my freedom

I am a man, or a woman
 By any means necessary
Never will your children be abused
Never will we be neglected

You need me now, Daddy
Should I abandon you like you abandoned me?

Uhmmm, well, despite your faults
If I love myself, I must love you
But not love the bad that you did

To deny you at this time
Would be the same as denying myself
Doing what you did to me to me again, but by me.

I want better for my children
I want a more perfect union

Letter to a Father by John Hughes

© Copyright 2012. All rights reserved. No portion of this work may be duplicated or copied without the expressed written consent of the author.

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