Dear Dad

Dear Dad,

You were my most influential teacher

I learned when I was six

When given a choice between

A glass bottle and your daughter's hand

You will always reach for the bottle opener

And leave my hand cold and empty

I learned when I was nine

That I didn’t need a welcoming father

But I sure did want one

I learned when I was twelve

That I didn’t need electricity in my home to live

Just a deafening generator

And the stench of kerosene staining my clothes

Which gave me more warmth than you ever did

I learned when I was thirteen

That I should no longer fear spiders or the dark

Because the real monster in my house was you

I learned when I was fifteen

That if my views differed from yours

I was a disappointment

I learned when I was seventeen 

That I can’t accept love from a male

Because the one who was supposed to love me for life

Left me in the dark with no flashlight

Now I am eighteen and I’m still learning

I’m learning that I don’t want an addict

Or a narcissist

Or an abuser

Or a criminal in my life

Dear Dad,

When will you decide to put the bottle down

And hold your little girl?

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This poem is about: 
Me
My family

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