for my daddy who got me here


once i asked
was that your first attempt at
dying; he shrugged.
nah, i didn’t want to die.
i was just checking to see
if i was really alive.

at 12, he walked the
macarthur bridge from the outside.
2,193 steps later he arrived on
the other side, unscathed. never
once considering the certainty of
death if he’d slipped.

do you sometimes want
to lasso a thought, he
asked me, you know…
strap it down.
so you can see it, hear it.
before it moves
into something else?

i lied.
nah, my thoughts
stay put. inside my
mind they line up like
dolls on the window sill.
they wait on me to pay

i dropped down that
rabbit hole when i was 17.
he told the story to his
dacna friends. tales not
meant for my ears. parts of
him he wanted to keep from me.

but i knew,
all the same. the graduation
from alcohol to pot to…and
how each climb took him out of
his mind and into a peace he
couldn’t emulate without.

he wasn’t surprised but
wished it’d been left unsaid
his teacher declared him a genius
and it changed his life. not for
the better. no one signs up
to be a hero, he told me. only a
fool would sign up for shit like that.
cause you’re bound to disappoint.

nevertheless, his mother started
squirreling dollars and plotting
this child was howard bound
come hell or high water.

he said it was too much freedom.
asked me how could freedom
be so much? i was 7, riddles
weren’t my thing so i said
somethings just cost more
than you have. he nodded.

pictures are what remain.
i trace a lopsided smile
wondering, how can a grin
ask to play when paired  with
eyes quietly pleading
save me?

he never wanted to be
a hero. he told me i’m
more luke cage than you know
unbreakable but broken
all the same.

in death he comforts me
he is wiser,  softer, and
finally his movements match
his mind’s flow – lightening speed
no chaser.

i love him,

even more, every broken

unbreakable piece.

Daddy's Girl
My father and me circa 1974.


10 Comments Add yours

  1. heyannis says:

    Wanda, such a powerful piece! I love the voices. “No one signs up to be a hero.” Love it. Thank you! xoA

    1. Thank you for reading and pushing me. I needed that.

  2. I feel the strength of being perfectly imperfect in the words. Powerfully spoken. Well done.


    1. Thank you for reading. This is my first writing in a long time. I felt rusty.

  3. msjadeli says:

    poignant outpouring

    1. Thank you for the read.

  4. Stunning! Made a lasting impression.

    1. Thank you for reading.

  5. zenofjenni says:

    Oh my goodness – you have me in tears at my desk. beautiful. thank you for sharing.

    1. Thank you for reading. I appreciate it.

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