We long for a father like yours
who carves out precious time to attend
your piano recitals, whose goodnight kiss
is a never-missed ritual.
Our fathers: workaholics, alcoholics,
emotionally absent or far too close—
coils of rage threatening to spring.
Behind our smiles, we seethe at the injustice.
You are a hothouse rose, but we are hardy crocuses,
demanding so little and receiving less.
Soon after your sweet sixteen
word spreads around town: your daddy has a new doll,
college-aged, while your mother is consigned to the shelf.
We poke and prod with a surgeon’s skill
until you confess: your father moved out last month.
You rail against him, ashamed of your tears
and we cry too, cooing like startled doves,
for we all believed he was a decent man.
Doused in our pity, you don’t notice the way
a laugh can mask itself in the echo of a sob.
M. Stone is a bookworm, birdwatcher, and stargazer who writes poetry while living in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in San Pedro River Review, SOFTBLOW, Calamus Journal, and numerous other print and online journals. She can be reached at writermstone.wordpress.com
© 2018, M. Stone