I never understood what she saw in you
Your heavy brow and cold eyes and your rapacious disposition
but you took her hand and laced her veins with gold, dropped stardust into her eyes, painted her crumbling walls with ivory and she was beautiful again.
You, handing out your counterfeit smiles
endearment in the form of twenty dollar bills
round trip tickets
Italian names on the tags of your prickling gifted garments
and even though I pushed and refused and told mama I didn’t want all that stuff, you, this
I had it all
The begging and despair and pulling on the bottoms of her brand new dresses thrown back into my chest and I was supposed to call you “Daddy.”
And so Daddy you became.
the man who claimed that he could swoop in and sweep up our fallen hope and mold it into a brand new family portrait to hang over his prideful heart
display on the desk in his office
waiting for coworkers and his boss to notice so that he could tell the tales of his “beautiful life” and put foreign names to our foreign faces.
You carried our man-made smiles in your fat wallet and I bet your eyes lit up
and your heart fluttered
and your bones shook
at the mention of your “little boy.”
I bet you told them all about how happy you made me
and all the things you did for me.
I bet you boasted about how I looked up to you
and relied on you
and how faithfully you came through.
And I bet you made yourself seem like God.
But God made daddies to teach their little boys the way of the world, how to –
to throw a ball and ride a bike, drive a car, fix a leak with their tiny plastic tools.
He made daddies to teach their little boys to be good.
I was good, Daddy, wasn’t I?
I did all of my schoolwork and cleaned up after myself,
I said please and thank you,
crossed my T’s and dotted my I’s.
Mama said I was her good boy.
But you wanted me to be yours.
You asked me how I liked my new toys,
my new clothes,
my new life and I said it was great but
you told me that if I wanted more
I had to be better.
I bet you didn’t tell them about how I didn’t want it anymore
and how I asked you to stop.
God made you to love me.
And you did love me.
You loved me
until I couldn’t breathe.
You told me that that was all it was – love.
That you did what you did, because you loved me.
That you grabbed me like that, because you loved me.
That it hurt, because you loved me.
That I screamed
because you loved me.
I bet you didn’t tell them about that
look in your eyes.
The hazy blue that pierced through me
as your big hands, made to help me hold onto the handlebars of my bike, were holding my wrists down and bruising them. Innocent skin tainted purple and red.
I bet you didn’t tell them how you liked the word “stop”
and you craved the word “please”
and God forbid I call you “Daddy” because your skin would go red,
your grip would tighten,
your nails dug in and you told me that you loved that and you
wanted to kiss the word off my
pretty pink mouth.
This wasn’t what daddies were made for.
The others were nothing like you.
At school the kids would talk about the fun things their mommies and daddies did with them; they went to the park, ate dinner downtown, went on trips and sure, we did that stuff, but there I was, dreading meeting you out in the parking lot so we could get home before mama was done with work and sissy with school.
I be you didn’t tell them about how you devastated me.
How you took my innocence and painted it the color
of the thick blue air in my lungs as I wailed for my mother
and you clamped your rough, calloused hand over my words.
And I bet you didn’t tell them about how I thrashed around
on my little twin sized bed and
scratched at your skin and
tears fell like tsunamis and my cries rang out like thunder but
your rain didn’t let up and you drowned me
and shocked me with lightning
and when you finished you’d exhort me from telling my mother
or else you’d take her happiness away.
Tell them how I couldn’t let you do that.
Tell them that I let you shatter me for the sake of the stars that lit up her eyes. For the sun that shone through her smile.
You gave her the sky. She deserved that.
Tell them you’re the reason for these scars on your defective son.
And let me tell you,
that you can have it all back.
The shiny toy cars and expensive shoes, the gourmet dinners and private schools, the pricy sports equipment and that trip to Paris.
And let me tell you
that I hope you choke on your love like I did.
I hope you scream for help and grasp the air as it
grabs you by the neck and pulls you down and I hope
you never find your way out of misery,