Letter to Dad

08/04/2010 § Leave a comment

I wrote you a letter.
I keep it with me always
thinking I’ll send it to you
one day, when I’ve figured out
all that I’ve done wrong
the failure I’ve become.

I imagine your face
by looking at my reflection
& in my reflection
you are always about to cry–

Why is that?

You remember the ashtray
that shattered against Mom’s head
like a glass grenade?
All through that night
as you slept drunk on the sofa
she stifled her sobbing & swept the floor
lest her children should cut themselves
on the jagged ruins of her marriage.

You gave me life
& for good measure
branded me like a cattle for slaughter
as if you had the right
as if I deserved no better

Well, you’ll be proud
to know I’m surviving
surviving daily
surviving barely
finding what comfort I can get
in a language not my own.

& it hurts,
every word in this poem
is a wound I’ve dug up
looking for you beneath my skin
& I don’t know
how much longer I can hold on,
trying to fix myself & failing
love myself & hating
burying myself a little deeper
each day.

I’m a real freak, Dad
when I try to picture
a family of my own,
a wife, two kids, house
in the suburbs—
everyone’s unhappy.
even the dog , a black Labrador,
knows I don’t belong
in the picture.

I’m a real freak, Dad
I’m a 21st century Frankenstein
merely glued together in the joints
not quite right in the head

This is your handiwork
your masterpiece.
you broke me good
you broke me so good
& I applaud your success,
my sorry providence,


(Fall 2010)


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