To Dad

I know it’s hurting you that I won’t speak to you.
I’m sorry.
I’m not able to reconcile the relationship we had
and the relationship we are supposed to have.
The last time we spoke,
five months ago,
I told you I was proud of you.
You got a call from someone
looking to place Damien into your care.
Despite being forty one,
he couldn’t be trusted to be released into the public.
They said he was eating the institutional cutlery.
You told them no.
You said you couldn’t handle him when you were forty
and now that you’re almost eighty
you couldn’t do better.

But the thing is
that answer is too late.

That answer should have come when
he pulled a gun on me on my sixteenth birthday.
It should have come when he marbled my skin with bruises every day
because he was bored.
It should have come
when he stabbed my head with a garden tool
when I was three.

The thing is,
I have kids now, Dad,
and all I want is for them to grow up safe and happy.
But the other thing is,
if one was trying to destroy the other,
I would stop it.

So, your self preservation at eighty
is too late
because it came at the cost of my entire childhood.
And, so
it’s like you said when you poured peroxide into the scrapes Damien gave me when he tripped me to win races-
“believe me, this hurts me more than you.”

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