Daddy Dearest

To my father—

I addressed this with “to,”

Because “dear” felt wrong.

It’s hard to call someone “dear”

With a history like ours.

My father,

You should have been my light.

You should have protected me,

A rosy little girl,

But really, you were the thing I needed protection from.

 

Daddy, daddy, you bastard, I’m through.

I told you that first at four.

You didn’t take me seriously.

 

Daddy, daddy, you bastard, I’m through.

I told you again at eight.

Why did you step on my hair,

and offer me your hand to help me up?

Why did you rip my hair like that?

I will never trust the hand you extend.

No olive branches

No reconciliation without a price

You are an alligator and a snake and a liar and a fool.

 

Daddy, daddy, you bastard, I’m through.

I told you at fourteen. I really meant it.

You wouldn’t leave me alone.

You wouldn’t stop calling.

Mom took our phone and threw it out in the trash.

The sound of its ring had begun to corrode my insides.

I was through, father, I was done.

I would not let you hurt me anymore.

This was how it had to be.

This was goodbye.

 

Daddy, daddy, you bastard, I’m through.

I told you at sixteen.

I had tried to fix things

Again

But of course it would not work.

You could not let that happen.

You will never change.

So I had to say it again,

And I had to have my dreams crushed again.

I would never know a father figure.

I would never know paternal love from a man.

And that was the end for a while.

 

Noelle, noelle, you bastard, I’m through.

You told me at fifty.

Since I wouldn’t be your daughter,

You would not be my father.

The emancipation papers sat on the table

I read them with fervor

Soaking up your lies

Recoiling at your misconceptions

Aching at your perception of me.

 

Daddy, daddy, you bastard, I’m through.

Daddy, daddy, you bastard, I’m through.

Daddy, daddy, you bastard, I’m through.

Daddy, daddy, you bastard, I’m through.

I hope this is our final goodbye.

 

This poem is about: 
Me
My family
Poetry Terms Demonstrated: 

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