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



No more calls


No more stories


No more love



I stopped reading



I found words again

A new language

Blended with a hidden love for writing


It doesn't sting so badly anymore



Poems about a dad who used to love his daughter



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: 
My family


Need to talk?

If you ever need help or support, we trust for people dealing with depression. Text HOME to 741741