Dear Old Dad

She ran from the bus after school to meet you,
to have you pick her up and spin around.
Her giggles infected you and you finally set her down.

She ran inside to put her backpack away,
to spend more time with you and your cars.
The smell of motor oil absorbing your copier ink aroma.

She ran around outside with the dogs
while you were working under your jeep.
The oil-stained blue square cloths littered the cement floor.

She’d ask for a snack and you’d give her a riddle.
If she got it right, she got the snack,
if she got it wrong, Tough Noogies.

Every day she’d come home right after you did.
She’d run to you, expecting to be lifted and spun.
You only ever let her down when your back hurt.

There were days she didn’t understand
why you were so mad, she didn’t try to anger you.
It would be a few years before she knew the stories.

She’d figure it out along the way on her own,
years down the road when you finally were gone,
out of the house, not yet seeing another woman.

You’d go on a walk with Milo and Kirby, alone. One mistake.
She’d be in her room, pinning up posters from teen magazines.
You’d have your spaghetti dinners, you always made too much.

She tried to watch a movie with you each night,
but you never made it half way through.
Your empty plate would be left dirty
balancing between your stomach and arm.

She’d see one night after getting you comfortable,
the fork under your leg, stabbing, without your notice.
The morning would show no remorse, no acknowledgement,
and would bring the same conversations as the day before.

This wasn’t an accident.
This was a choice. Your choice.
You know how she feels, how she always felt
once she found out your dirty little secret.

She’d been in the car with you on multiple occasions
when you weren’t about your wits enough to be safe.
She was just a little girl and you stole her father away.
All it took was that liquid courage to start the hate again.
You’ll never be free of the deadly monster underneath.

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