I sigh in feeling like I am talking to you,

Like things could be normal

Confessing the fear I felt for you.

Followed by the warmth encapsulating my cold shattered heart with

The love I felt for you.

You cry and I watch,

with knots in my stomach -

naive in my language,

to be ‘that girl’ of ‘that father.’ Afraid.


How did I think like that?

While you were drowning, weights glued to your ankles

Gasping for air as water filled your

Smoke ridden lungs

Crumbling into a thousand pieces

Like the china in your mother’s cherry wood cabinet

Like the security of a woman when she notices a man walking briskly towards her. Broken.


You never told me I was selfish, why didn’t you say something?

I still am and I always will be - selfish. Stuck in the thought of you leaving

Afraid. Broken.

I was scared to lose you, did that creep into your mind between the thoughts of me hating you?

I lost you and life continued flowing.

Flowing like the sea, the lake, the river, and now I was the one who was drowning

With your weight tacked onto my back like an itch that isn’t satisfied

Creeping on my shoulders until my knees buckle and I lay face to face with you. Numb.


What happened?

I lay face down in the water, to numb to scream, cry, or fight

so I smiled through my fear, for you, because in the end you wouldn’t want to see your little girl cry

Then I saw your eyes,

blue as the water lighting up with the sun, a color that felt like childhood swing sets

And wind in my crimson curled hair

Now, the blue had sunken into the pits of your stomach that I thought I could feel it too

A color that looked like emptiness, like the time my kitten slept forever in my arms

Do you remember that?

How many more times should I apologize? Angry.


Listen I can't say much more, okay?

I am sorry that you lost your love, that suffocating love

The one that you fought for- would it make you feel better if I said she wasn’t doing well

Of course it wouldn’t, you are kind.

I miss you, and the kind heart kindled like a fire in your chest

Your raw exposure, a you I’d rarely seen- so stoic, you were

You did not love yourself

Why couldn’t you have just loved yourself? Frustration.


You should’ve been selfish, I could have taught you  

I could have taught you how to kick your feet up and close out the world

And build a life like the one I have now

I am happy. I think.

One last thing-

I am sorry that you were so selfless,

giving the shirt off your back and the shoes of your feet, the beat of your heart

But know, I felt all of it. I still feel all of it. Love.


You have taught me more in death than I imagined, however angry and furious and numb,

I learn for you. And I hope you are listening, dad.


This poem is about: 
My family
Guide that inspired this poem: 


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