Memories of my father

when I was a baby
he was never around
he was in the Coast Guard
when I was little I sat
on his big stomach and
ate popcorn
I went grocery shopping
with him every weekend
he took my mother’s paycheck
sometimes he took me
to the casino
when I was 9 I had a fit
at church because I didn’t
want to be there he hit me
on the side of my leg
my parents split
when I was eleven
I wasn’t aware of it
I thought when my mother
said we were moving,
he was coming
I was wrong

Did he try to see us?
yes, he got into a fight
with her boyfriend and that
was the last time he came
there to try

So then
he sent me birthday
and Christmas cards
every year
since then
sometimes he called
I hardly answered
I saw him only on some
holidays at church
as I got older
when my mother passed
he was at my sister’s house
on Thanksgiving and Christmas
to see us

He showed up at
the hospital when I had
my daughter though a few
months earlier I cussed him
out for making a comment
about me being big
— I was pregnant

Was he there when I was
growing up?
Yeah, here and there
when I was a kid
though half the time
he was gone gambling
when I was a teenager, no
I mean good luck for
anyone trying to get to me then

The last time I spoke to
him was the day after my birthday
he was excited to see
my daughter on Thanksgiving
which was cancelled by coronavirus
and cancelled farthermore
by the asshole that
ran him over and killed him
the night before

Sooo, all that gaps
in my life of him not being there
he made some kind of effort
though I hardly saw him
or knew anything about him
he took some interest what
was going on in my life
it’s unclear to me
if someone or something
prevented him from seeing us
besides his dislike of my
mother’s ‘boyfriend’
but you can’t blame him
he’s also told me to
talk to my father
some answers I’ll never get
what the hell happened?

So, now
I’m a parent and
realize time is a gift
if this was my last
moment on Earth
that’s who I’d want
to be with

Cars kill people too

They don’t take away cars
just saying

I’m not going to sit here
and pretend I was close to
my father that ship has sailed
20 years ago
but he didn’t deserve it
nobody deserves to be
hit and killed by car
when they’re crossing
the street
it happens no one
even thinks about it
myself included

People take things
for granted like my father
took my mother
he was a serious gambler
did he pay his dues?
I don’t know
I know he called me
multiple times over the years
even when I was
teenager and refused to answer
only to ask me how I was
and tell me he loved me
I didn’t really reciprocate
why? well
try explaining
to your 11 year old
gambling was more important
than anything in else
in your life
he never even mentioned it

I don’t know why
I can’t help but think
maybe he knew my little sister
wasn’t actually his daughter
another ground for their spilt?
neither one of them was
monogamous and they both
carry that secret in their grave

My older siblings will dismiss
everything I say when he was
nothing but their angry step-father
there’s hard DNA evidence she is not his
hell, explain why my other sister
and I are Jewish and she is not?
Because she has a different father
my father was at least 50%

This situation
has me back at square one
where was he in my life?
gambling
how I wished he was a father
but he wasn’t
I had to deal with the narcissist
pretending to be
he ditched our family after my
mother’s death in a text
the day after I gave birth to my daughter
my father actually showed up
I don’t know how
but he did
he held her
he’s asked me questions about her
he’s even sent me cards every year
on my birthday every year after
they split
the last time I talked to him
was the day after my birthday
he was excited to see Ava
thanksgiving
that was cancelled by coronavirus
thank you
fuck you government
and officially
cancelled thanksgiving eve
forever
because someone can’t
pay attention when they’re driving

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