Dear Dad

by Jeanne Milack

You turned the hands of time too fast for me 
Couldn't you have let me pretend for just a little longer,
Keep up the sham that you were the hero I'd idealized? 
You are a wolf hiding in plain sight,
Invisible between promises of unconditional love
I am broken

You told me you loved me,
But what did you love? 
I was a doll to dress and play pretend 
I could cook and clean and even dance on command,
But there was nothing inside
I was made of fine porcelain that you polished day after day with fine-tuned lies
You're the only one who'd ever love me and you're the only one who'd ever care 
God, how naive a child can be when confronted with deceit disguised as love
I was so lonely 

I am full of hair line cracks
You won't see them if you don't look hard enough,
But you never really did
You sanded down everything I am
And everything I could really be with what you thought was best
I am a caricature of a person 
I am functional and strong and smart 
One day I might crumble altogether

I see beloved childhood memories through adult eyes 
Nights spent dancing and singing and laughing remembered so fondly,
Held ferociously so that they don't wither away
They are all I have and they are lies 
One day I will be able to tell myself the truth

I was made for survival 
Bred to be the warrior to stand at your side 
I am riddled with guilt and shame for being too tired to fight any more of your battles 
I am worn down to the barest bone,
Stark white and picked clean against a landscape of color
I will never go to battle for you again

I wear a glass face of your making,
Splintered and ready to fracture 
But I will fit the pieces back together with my own hands
With years of skill I learned all on my own
I will paint myself a face I am happy to show the world 
And learn to be the person I have always wanted to be
You cannot control me

I might be broken
I might be lonely

One day I might crumble altogether
But despite everything you’ve put me through,
I am still standing
One day I might be able to tell myself the truth,
That I will never go to battle for you again,
That you cannot control me
Because I am my own
I don’t need you
I never really did
Now I’m free

Jeanne Milack is an aspiring writer from Long Island, NY. When she is not writing, she is reading, thinking about writing, or something in between. She earned a BA in English and Comparative Literature from Queens College, and has work in a literary zine, Lilliputian: The Generation of Computer Love.

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June 2018

© 2020 by The Esthetic Apostle