In the chambers of my heart
in its very valves
I believe my father was flawed
not in the way most men
I believe he was not so different from
serial killers I’ve read about
he killed dreams and innocence
mutilated lives, not bodies
I don’t want this to be true
but I feel it is.
I understand today that my father
was a careful construction
a studied husk
So that when he smiled, it was just wrong
a smile that simply unzipped his face
to reveal the darkness lurking inside.
To other people my father was a nice man, a good man,
He may have been an alcoholic when I was young
He hadn’t been drinking like that in years.
What did he do with the rage, the darkness
that squatted in him like a black toad?
I know the truth.
My father was not a nice man,
just very good at creating an external identity
a mask to show the world.
A mask he never took off.
Knowing if he took it off
he might never get it back on.
But in this moment one thing is very clear:
I am not him
I am not my father’s daughter.
I am me.
And whatever wrong, broken thing he contained
was not passed on.