Dear Father by Chela Novak (2011)

dear father,

i wish i could write a dear father,

but dear sounds to me like a term of endearment and there is no such thing

when it comes to you.

you know i wish i scream out that i miss you;

but to do that i’d have to see you,

and as it is with growing intelligence

i’ve learned it’s better not to.

i throw my arms around memories of you because

i still love you.

you know i wish i could hear that you are sorry;

but you must learn that saying that word will not make up for the

earthquakes you caused when you

grabbed me by the arms and said

“why did you have to be born?”

so i want you to wake me up one day with the words you know you should say that

you are sorry, that you hurt me this way and

you are sorry, that they took you away and that

you are sorry, that you couldn’t protect me from boys like you who

only see me as an object for them to run through.

and maybe some use of over due honesty could

retract that grip you have on my heart.

and i have felt myself working

on that very foundation that you failed to set,

and maybe one day i won’t be afraid of hands,

and you will rub enough morale salve into yours to soften them.

i wish that one day i will trust that

alcohol will not turn a lamb into a lion.

but i love you like i love the burn of a cigarette while it’s igniting.

and i wish that i didn’t have to ask,

but when i ask why you push me

you say

why the fuck did you fall?


dear father is not an term of endearment when it comes to you.


–  Chela Novak, 12th grade, The Ross School.

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