I am my father's daughter.
I have no doubt as I flip
the pristine pages of family photo albums
and see the same gap teeth, the same galaxy of freckles
spattered across the same round face.
My family tells me this,
pointing out each similarity
as I search my mother's face, mannerisms
desperate for something resembling my own.
They tell me stories of a man I've never met.
He walks, talks, smokes like my father.
"Back in the old days," they'd begin,
"Your dad, oh man, he was a riot."
I glimpse at my father.
I know the gap tooth is still there,
but it's been a long time since he smiled big enough to show it.
His freckes have faded and his face now looks tired, old.
He shakes his head
and I can see what raising three children has done to him.
Anger comes easier to him than joy,
and his guitar and past are coated with a thick dust,
too worn into the grain to remove.
My mother laughs at the stories,
loving him through the smoke and mirrors,
and I realize something.
I am my father's daughter, and this scares me.
But I am not subject to the life my father has lived,
I will have a different love,
a different job,
a different house,
And I will not let my life be determined
by my similarities to my father.