Mom always said
give your father a hug.
As if I were oblivious to
the cringe in your skin
and
eyes glued to the television.
I won’t speak of the years
spent wondering what must have been
so wrong with me
to make a father
shrink
from the arms of his daughter.
For all I know now of your demons
I’d say I’d got off easy
–It took you twenty-one years
to ever say to my face
that you loved me–
And although I know
you did the best that you
knew how to do
I need to acknowledge
that no amount
of strange men’s
shy winks,
come-at-me smiles,
undress-me eyes,
brushed fingers,
warm scents,
wistful glances,
or willing skin
could ever fit
that empty space between my arms
that your brokenness
could not fill.