You grew up without him,
one of three boys
raised by a single mom.
She loved you with all of her heart
it was never enough to fill that void,
gratify the hunger
you yearned for fantasy to fill.
You created a magician.
A dad who could hocus pocus
your insecurities away.
A father whose magic hat
had power to build self-esteem
as if sleight of hand,
could heal the heartache
of a broken home.
You’ve postponed living,
say the best will come
when he returns.
You dream of the day
he will stand before you and say,
“I’m sorry son, I’ve returned to fill the hole
the empty place that aches.
You are someone worthy of my love.”
It has been 30 years.
That day has not yet happened
nor will it ever.
Who loved you more
the one who left
or the one who stayed?
The doorbell rings; you stand there grinning slyly.
As always, you are an uninvited guest.
But you did not come alone,
Three unknown smiles are aimed at me.
I am washed in a torrent of emotions; surprise, anger and fear
I play the role of a polite hostess.
Each forced smile etching deeper into my skin.
The clock ticks as I await your departure
yet, you show no inclination of leaving.
They flow deeper into each crevice
You and your accomplices linger for hours.
My anger wars with my calm façade.
I struggle to maintain my composure,
but feel a crack surfacing in my mask.
I am left drenched
You launch many accusations at me
then follow up with a joke.
You were always the gifted comedian.
During a quiet moment you whisper-
Are you upset with me?
I wish to dry these emotions from my skin
The crack deepens, the veneer breaks down.
Stolen glances out the window slow my breathing.
I am trapped by social dictates
and a six foot eight wooden door.
The smell of petrichor surrounds me
Finally, you and your co-conspirators leave.
My day has been wasted, my emotions spent.
I inhale fresh air as an inmate released from prison.
Freedom is regained until the next time.
The rain has finally subsided
As the locks click into place
I recall the past when we loved each other.
A quick amputation would be better
than this socially acceptable fade.
*The bold lines flow with each other and are read together at one time. The regular print lines skip over the bold lines and are read together.
Arlene Antoinette is a novice poet/lyricist with dreams of one day writing a piece that breaks hearts. She holds an old outdated bachelor’s degree in sociology with a minor in psychology.