By Olivia Agostini
I couldn’t take it anymore, his booming voice and wrath.
I’d cower, cover ears and pray his fire’d die, he’d go away.
I’d sob and hide up on the stairs, my mother’d guard me well,
But as his face went crimson red, he’d throw my suitcase, words unsaid,
And I and mother huddled close, we locked the door, and watched him go.
I couldn’t bear to take his calls, though through the phone, he shook the walls.
It all would make sense later on, then I was terrified,
But next I saw him, all seemed fine, I couldn’t see the warning signs.
I sat in back without a care, I was nine, and didn’t know,
That rumble strips had woken him, he’d put my life out on a limb.
He’d send me off with aunt and Nan, or friends I’d never met.
To him I’d go upon return, but poisoned words were all I’d earned.
Confused and scared I was with him, I didn’t understand
Just why he’d seemed so full of hate, with nothing left up for debate.
“You’re the child, I’m the Dad!” he’d shout as I shrunk down,
“I’m sorry, sorry, please don’t yell!” But on my pleas, he’d never dwell.
That day my visits stopped, I’d called my mom in frightened tears.
I told him “Bye, I love you, Dad,” he looked away, was seething mad.
I told my mom I loved him still, but asked “Don’t send me back.”
She agreed with words of praise, so I heard from him on holidays.
When Nan was dying, I went back, he hugged me, and I froze.
Upon release, I turned to Mom, “Who was that man?” “Your father, Tom.”
When we left, he called to me, “You want to say goodbye?”
I told him “No,” and out we went, but even then he’d not relent.
Letters, letters every month, that sought my sympathy,
“My dear, my heart is full of pain, come be my daughter once again.”
I saw him last at age sixteen, when he was deathly ill,
Not getting better, things seemed grim, I went to say goodbye to him.
I simply wanted him to know, before he died and left,
The love I’d had, I couldn’t find, but all my hate, I’d left behind.
He didn’t seem to understand when I and mother came,
He’d prepped a meal and welcomed us, nerves left my stomach in a fuss.
Finally we all sat down, to talk the whole thing through,
And when we left, I heard his cries, but confidence remained, my prize.
He still sends letters now and then, but now I simply laugh.
I haven’t seen him since that day, and from this path, I’ll never stray.
Yes, it’s hard to disconnect from one I once held close,
Half my family says he’s changed, this notion seems, to me, deranged,
“I’m sorry, but,” “I’m sorry, but,” was all he ever said,
I’m sorry, but he lied to me. Without him I am proud and free.
You won’t convince me otherwise, I know it in my heart,
So Father dear, I’m telling you, just give it up, I’m done, we’re through.