Man of the House

Over at dVerse Poets Pub in the Poetics section, there's a prompt called Try to Remember. That's what triggered this piece...

the phone call came,
my uncle looked at me
and said, 

"You're the
man of the house now,
you have to be strong
for your mother and sisters".

So, at eleven years old,

I didn't shed a tear
when I saw my mom, eyes
leaking with pain,
calmly make arrangements
for my father's burial.

I didn't shed a tear
when my sisters 
sobbed on my shoulders,
even though I could feel
their sorrow vibrating
through me.

I didn't shed a tear
at the wake or the funeral;

I just stood stoic
trying to map out
in my mind what exactly
does it mean to be a man?

That night, I remember going into the bathroom and crying uncontrollably into a towel, so no one would hear me.

© 2013 abruvanamedsly

Graveyard Book


  1. mmm not an easy question when you have to be in charge at that does not mean you cant cry though that is what they will tell you...hard life man...

  2. heavy piece and very relate-able. thank you for sharing your gift.

  3. Aww, how sad. I'm sorry you lost your dad at such a young age. A beautiful poem. It's OK to cry then, and even now. Thank you for visiting my blog :)

  4. Oh, this broke my heart. A boy becoming a man in the absent of a heartbeat. I'm glad, though, that you could cry...even if it had to be done privately.

    Tomorrow is the second anniversary of my Mom's passing so this really struck a chord.

    Such concise and perfect writing. A real pleasure to make your acquaintance.

  5. oh heck - this moved me to tears - how tough it must have been for you at this young age not only to lose your father but also to suddenly carry the responsibility of being a man..

  6. This is such a strong story.. And so cruel that a little boy can't cry... We all need to cry sometimes...

  7. And I know you still hide your grief publicly. Can relate to this. It is a consequence of carrying the burden of strength from a young age. I was 7. It makes us different.I feel less alone hearing your story.Thank you!

  8. I think that boy did an admirable job of becoming a man over night. I'm sure that his views on what being a man is have changed over the years.

  9. Heart breaking tale...what is it to be a man?

  10. The volume of your truth cannot be measured. Bless UP brother.

  11. Having lost my own father my heart aches for you and for having to shoulder such a heavy burden at such a young age. Words can weigh heavy on our shoulders. The truth and honesty in this piece is powerful.

  12. Boy that was the wrong thing to say to a child. Gosh!
    Heavy heavy...

  13. This was so honest and poignant...your words always move me...<3