queer-with-a-pen

father of mine

a friend asks me

as i lean against the bar

gnawing on what is left

of my thumbnail

what my plans are for

father’s day

 

i laugh in the way

that is more than

a little painful

a short bark of mirth

and tell her that

i will be

saving money

 

i say this too quickly

ignoring the lump

that has formed in my throat

over years of missed birthdays

and happy memories ending

around the time i realized

that my father was

no longer my hero

 

it’s almost too easy

to joke about these things

i haven’t seen my father

in almost three years

i got both the shitty tattoos

he did when i was angsty

and suicidal and 17

covered with prettier pictures

 

i can laugh about it

saying i know my father hates me

because he doesn’t deserve

anymore of my tears

than i have already shed

over his lack of love

 

but it hurts

ya know?

it hurts like a scraped knee

when you’re too old for

a wound to be kissed better

 

and other metaphors

i use to cover the

fact that there is an ache

in my chest

a hole i am trying to fill

 

but i have nothing

to fill this hole with

because all i know of

having a father is what

i watched on tv

and read in books

 

and i am still trying to

figure out how i am

supposed to feel about this man

who i see whenever i look in the mirror

that didn’t want me as a daughter

 

and sure as hell

doesn’t want me

as a son

either



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