He didn’t protect me,
he made me available.
He didn’t love me,
he used me.
He didn’t teach me,
he frightened me.
I cried silently,
so he wouldn’t hear.
Still, I wanted to stay with him forever.
When I needed him as a child,
his priorities conflicted.
When it mattered the most,
he betrayed me.
A witness for the defense,
he took his side, and protected my abuser.
Still, I loved him and needed his love in return.
I left at 14, seeking haven with other loved ones.
He told me I was a gold-digger.
He called me a meal ticket.
He told me to go to hell.
Still, I cried for him often.
He stopped talking to me completely.
He sent a Christmas card back ‘return to sender’.
Still, I kept that unopened card because of his handwriting.
And then he died.
Suddenly, unexpected, young.
With no apologies,
no admission of guilt,
no acceptance of responsibility.
And he left me an orphan at 25.
I have found closure to be fleeting.
acceptance a struggle,
and emotions overwhelming.
He was my father.
but only in name.
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