Memories of my dad?

He would take me to the store
to go grocery shopping and out
for ice cream every week
with my mother’s paycheck
he didn’t work
he used to be a cook
in the coast guard
he retired

Of course,
I didn’t know that
when I was super young
I sat on his big belly
and ate popcorn
the neighbors
thought he was ‘mexican’
or part ‘black’
because he had tan skin

I know he’s not
I tan well too and
took a DNA test
I’m 100% European
a fancy way to say
‘Caucasian’

I remember the times
he forced us to go to
church and slapped me
once on my side
because I was having
a tantrum
later he apologized
he didn’t know how to
punish kids
that’s why I was
running around
and getting in trouble
while he was at the casino
drinking and gambling away
all my mother’s money

Then they split when I was 11
my mother moved us in
with a narcissistic asshole
that said he ‘thought of
himself as our father’
my father tried to visit
us once and he got into
a fight with my mother
that was the end of that
he called us only
on or around holidays
sometimes our mother
had us go to church on
holidays to see him
that’s it

But he continued to call
and still does to this day
I hardly ever answer
I’m 30
he’s a stranger to me
but he’s showed up when
my daughter was born
the man that thought
of himself as my father
didn’t, he fell out
the moment my mother died
to another woman’s arms
and sent us a ‘goodbye’
text a few days after
Ava was born

And he wondered why
I never said ‘happy fathers day’
being there to be there
doesn’t make you
neither does sperm apparently
but thank you,
I hardly ever sunburn

My only hope now
is my daughter
has a father
even though I can’t
promise we’ll be
together forever

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