The Daughter’s Obligations

Guess I’m a little late for Throwback Thursday, but here’s a poem from the “vault” anyway …


the daughter’s obligations



“your daddy’s a drunk”

depressed my mind’s memories

punishing …

shame …

(daddy was a public disgrace)

and a private nightmare

(in his three-bedroom dwelling)

“but he’s the only father you’ll ever have”

filial piety?

(the daughter’s obligations to her father?)

meaningless words probing my prolonged hurts

like a doctor’s impersonal hands on an injured patient

(picking + poking = cold)

unless you understand the shadowed meanings

hidden away from nosy eyes

(never offered me any comfort in their blind ignorance)

far into the difficult puzzles of my brain

this adult-child is wary

and weary …

playing the ever-accommodating host to this helpless rage

past-hopeless …

there was nothing i could do, right?

second-guessed my self-doubt

(defeat made fun of my loss)

just like all the years i learned to survive without any friends


and i enabled the persistence of alcohol in daddy’s life

his choice to keep drinking it

his choice to keep buying it

(even on Sundays)

special privileges allowed to the “armed” forces

ironically unarmed against the enchantment of the drink

and his choice to cloak himself within it

(protected from reality’s slap-stinging sobriety)

human intervention couldn’t refrain daddy’s “thirst”

(divine intervention couldn’t cure “it,” either)

“pour me another bourbon and coke, honey”

slurred my “happy-drunk” daddy

the only time i saw him laugh


unless he was making fun of his imperfect daughter

(his other favorite pastime)


so i poured him another drink



3 thoughts on “The Daughter’s Obligations

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