Daughter Adopted


A tale of separate motives
resonated with an afterthought
left filtering through dense smog as her taillights
faded, kicking up dust, heading
God only knows where.
I’d played Tara’s fool well before I played it cool.
I said things that had meaning, but none of which I’d meant to say.
I expressed my sorrow through sniffles and tears
that rolled to the receiver as drops of authenticity.
I didn’t know what I’d lost until she headed back west.
If I could convince myself that I had a fault for her leaving,
I’d glance at the man in the bathroom mirror and study the coward within me.
I pieced together figments of my imagination
to claim she cheated.
She said I was crazy.
I told her it was reality.
She told me she had nine months before her life changed.
The tear in her voice evoked apprehension.
Our break brought us back to the same house, which we now called our home.
The baby she said was mine wasn’t mine.
My tongue danced behind my lips, but I said nothing demeaning.
My father told me the father’s sins shouldn’t fall upon the daughter.
Her father skipped town, chasing dreams of juggling in the circus.
I raised her as my own.
All this to say: that’s why I’m not on her birth certificate.
After today, she’ll have my last name.

Twitter – @AC0040

(© 2023 AC.)

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