Fictional Father

When I was 5 you would always read me stories

Nothing compared to your softness and light sounds of fingers tracing cartoon trees for me

I’d await the next book eagerly

Gripping the pillows with each roughly said word

Whether they were bibles, fairy tales, tragedies, picture books  

I’d listen to anything to keep you in the kingdom of my bedroom

Keep me up past the dark hours of nighttime

We never really had enough time for more than one

 

At 7 we would read books together

Revel in the written connection

Unified in the imagery of a glorious story

In the princess’ life I thought I had

In the hero’s mask you always wore

As I whispered out lines with a voice I thought you loved

And read the words that mom taught me

You were surprised that I learned to read so fast

 

At 9 you stopped telling me stories

But I would read them to you

Covered in the safehouse of warm blankets

Reciting words that still had a slight twinge of magic to them

I started reading to you about family

And began to wonder if you knew we never really had one

 

10 years old

We didn’t read stories together anymore

Instead you had other narratives to inhabit

My mind left forced to collapse in the sterile classrooms of my conscious  

Reading text and not books

My heart not engaged  

Focused on the fictional story of my father

 

While I started reading on my own

The words of our story became dull

Untouched by the silenced language like a book collecting dust

 

 

I needed a storyteller

Someone to tie my shoes and tell me my strength lies in the thunder of my voice

But instead I grew inward

Vines immersed in the thorns of abandonment

Clouded by the darkness of a bedroom that used to be brightened by love

I have no roots to call home anymore

 

It never occurred to me

That you'd start reading more books

About a replacement family remade

An older daughter forgotten

Maybe my voice was too loud for you to stay

A light too bright to hold

 

13

No more calls

 

No more stories

 

No more love

 

14

I stopped reading

 

15

I found words again

A new language

Blended with a hidden love for writing

 

It doesn't sting so badly anymore

 

16

Poems about a dad who used to love his daughter

 

17

I promise dad I am writing my own story

One you'd be proud to read

 

If only you'd be there to listen

 

This poem is about: 
Me
My family

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