dad never existed
dad never existed.
not as anything more real than a quilt
pieced together from scraps of my memory:
this is his big smile
and this is his smooth brown skin
and these are his shaky hands with the funnyshaped thumbs
and this is him shoving money into my palm
and this is him walking out the door
(walking out the door--
always walking out the door)
this is all i have of dad,
the man who loves and never says it
hiding behind a slow, easy grin and
silver clouds of cigarette smoke
beautiful, meaningless pieces
that aren't even enough to keep out the cold.
i wish for him in a thousand different ways,
angry, yelling, cruel, kind, laughing, joyful
making me laugh, making me cry,
anything other than the charming ghost
who appears and disappears and never leaves a trace
and all i can say
to the shadows he never left is
please, daddy. please. i love you and i hate you.
i fuck everything up for fear of getting it right.
i am scared and it's all your fault:
i think i'm turning out