Stand Up Tall

By Allen M. Price

July 22, 2019

Stand Up Tall

My father turns his head, puts me on the floor, opens the screen, and walks out the back door. Just the silhouette of the bare trees shadowing night's sky is all I can see. I stand there for long minutes listening as night whispers peace. Night sets me free, free from the need to know, free to be, free to go, free from the face of God staring down, free from the world around, from the hours that chain me down.

Backing the car out of the driveway, he pokes his head from the window, and says, “You gonna make something of yourself, son.”

Tears streak his cheeks. But I don’t cry. I make myself like wood.

“When I come back, these trees all around this house will stand up real tall and look down at you showing how proud.”

But he never does and they never do. Instead, I grow like the trees, wandering forth in every direction, planting my imperfect roots deep, gripping the ground tight, bemoaning the imprisonment, always wondering, waiting, fearing man will cut me down.

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