Fertilizer, A poem by Actor Eric Martig. A Live Again story of his father.

My father passed away when I was 16. He was a chemist. Everyone that knew him referred to him as a genius. He was a gymnast in high school and he received a scholarship for gymnastics to attend Cornell University. Once he realized he no longer wanted to compete, he left Cornell and transferred to Colorado where he fell in love with my mother, a japanese exchange student. He was so poor in college he lived in his van for a period of time which I will always respect and cherish. They eventually moved back to my fathers home town of Oak Lawn, IL after school. My father, unfortunately, was a drinker. It curved his anxiety so he would be able to talk to people. The excessive drinking lead to the pancreatic cancer that eventually took his life. I only had 16 years with my father but the footprints that he left behind will never melt away. This is his Live Again story:

FERTILIZER by Eric Martig

Wood chips flicker past my eyes and sit in my hair
“Put your finger here,” he would say
As he chopped through the firewood
And my heart chopped through my chest
The splinters supplied solace sewing in my skin
A man in the eyes of a boy
A father in the eyes of a son
I hurt like he hurts
I tolerate the pain like he tolerates the pain
Tears sit in the back of my eye as a needle
Slowly tears away my young skin and heals me
He is a Man
He is my Father

Chemistry flowed through his blood
A gymnast on the rings of science
White t-shirts, and blue jeans
Perfectly folded and hung in his van
Motivation and Drive is what kept him alive
Kept him educated, allowed him to fall in love
An overachiever that fell over with anxiety
A specimen of what to be and what not to be
I suppose that was the question
46 years wasn’t enough time
Time to find the answer

The stale hospital smell falls heavy on me
It’s still, sterile sickness always occupying my senses
This time is different though
This time is real
This time my father fearlessly faints for freedom
Freedom from his repetitive room
He’s still my father
Unrecognizable
Pale skin shining through tears that tickle his cheek
We laugh remembering
His jokes, His wit, His dances
His music, His books, His cars,
His axe, His dimples, His smile
His bravery

The morphine slowly takes over, and we lose conversation
A brain-twisting, rollercoaster-dropping, nightmare-inducing
Beautiful breathe of fresh air for the dying 
He’s the statue of my decisions
He sits next to me at every game
I see him now more than ever
His words wake me every morning
He gets me out of bed 
He’s stronger now than he ever was 
He’s the fire when I’m stuck in the ash
He’s paved a way for us to shine
He’s the best parts of who I am
He’s gone but always here

Every flower grows from the dirt
I will rise from the seeds my father planted.

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