my father, the creationist

trigger warnings for substance abuse/drug addiction and eating disorders

his eyes are the destruction after the dust settles
his eyes are black holes sucking up daughter’s love, swallowing loyalty whole

the wrinkles on his forehead betray a nonsensical roadmap folded again and again and deliberately ripped out of frustration at never being able to see the way. the way his eyes used to crinkle at the corners when he laughed – a full-bodied belly laugh always ending in tears of mirth – but now his smile is a grimace. his mind is a foggy marsh, a mushy soup of forestry factoids and unquestioning religiosity. he can’t remember how to spell his youngest daughter’s name or the date his son was born. what sticks to his memory is only: methadone benzodiazepine heroin methadone benzodiazepine heroin methadone

his lips are a cracked desert of hail marys and hypocritical morality
his lips are dried slugs crusted with cocaine dust and communion crumbs

he has mastered the art of missing. sprawled on the couch, spent as a corpse just before the rot sets in, riding a tranquilizer haze sprinkled with a lithium and opium rose petal daze, he blinked for two years and missed his wife’s wilting like a sunflower trapped behind venetian blinds. he missed his son’s decline into isolation and his daughter’s ascent into a dissociated state of food deprivation. he missed the pills slipping down her throat, bitter as heartbreak. but he has yet to begin missing her. what he misses instead is methadone benzodiazepine heroin methadone benzodiazepine heroin methadone benzodiazepine heroin methadone benzodiazepine heroin

his veins are van gogh’s easel, stained black with resignation
his veins are the weak strings tied to my daughter-heart

and when it beats, they threaten to break in
half this life I’ve spent hoping for divine redemption –
bless me father for I have sinned it has been eight years
since my last
confession: it has been (a week, two days, ten minutes) since my last
eat-until-I-puke three a.m. binge session
confession: no man will ever glow in the dark for me the way you used to
confession: your addiction is a cage that both of us are wasting away inside
you have never noticed me pressing myself flat against the bars
so that you wouldn’t try to touch me
when you touch me, I don’t think daddy, I think murderer
of safety, of family, of the person who ten years ago
would’ve treasured my daughter-heart,
would’ve stopped at nothing to tear down my walls
and I wouldn’t have had to ask
twice
the only thing I can say of you
is that at least you brought my poetry back
because I have not been this fucking miserable
since the first time you left,
trampled on a little girl’s trust
and expected her heart to remain intact
and when you found that she wasn’t whole, you said

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I can pinpoint every alley,
every streetcorner
my father ever bought cocaine
and how to get there on the highway

methadone benzodiazepine heroin methadone benzodiazepine heroin

I could tell him about every scar,
all of the trauma hidden deep in my bones
and still I know
these words would stay the
same