The First Time I Saw Dad Cry
The yelling had gone on for hours, amassed,
billowed out from my parents’ bedroom
doorway, where my brother and I lingered
and watched greedily.
Sharp teeth, inverted mouth, imploded
face. It was him but not him, not really.
His eyes flickered at me as he rushed to the
bath, buried his head in off-white hand towels.
I placed a tiny hand on his shoulder. A parrot,
small and inauthentic and useless. Mom stood
askew. A smeared fingerprint, even more
shapeless than me. She told me to leave.
My brother and I sank into the television
like taffy between molars. We pointed
our fingers as we told each other
we didn't care, not really, at all.
This poem originally appeared in Slippery Elm Literary Journal.