I never had a father,
Even though he was alive and with me.
He held my hand when we crossed the street and let me go,
When the sky turned black enough to disappear into.
I once knew of an addict who would put his children to bed early,
So that he had time to play in his darkness.
I never knew what the crack pipe looked like.
But I did notice the twitching, spastic terrors that enraged him,
And though his vision may not have been red,
His eyes certainly were.
I remember the screaming and the crying and wetting the bed;
The bathroom wasn't as important as my sanctuary,
Where I could pretend to be hidden from the monster.
And I invented many monsters myself, all with the same face,
Lurking in the shadows, ready to take my safety away.
But my safety was an illusion, a comfort I imagined for myself.
I never had a father but I was raised by his demons.
My days were longer and bleaker than other kids,
Because when it was up to him I was a forgotten orphan.
I watched roses bloom and turn dark and crusted waiting for his car,
His sorrys and his black teeth begging me for secrecy,
And I consent because he acknowledges my existence.
And though my eyes are not red,
They are black tourmaline;
I am so much darker.
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