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  • April 1st, 2010 | 12:16 AM
30 Poems in 30 Days - The Child I Was

My personal challenge for National Poetry Month is to write
a poem a day about the father I have never known.
I'm not promising perfect poems but I am promising emotional honesty.


The child I was had
long blonde hair (combing optional)
freckles that multiplied in the summer
dirty fingernails from playing in the mud
scabs on her knees and elbows
baby dolls and a green bicycle and a room of her own at the top of the stairs
a grandmother who taught her to sew
a grandfather who taught her to hammer
a mother that loved her with all that she had in her
and a daddy-sized hole in her heart

divorce wasn't talked about
support groups for single moms didn't exist
and unfeeling teachers forced me
to make cards for Father's Day
filled with words of love for a man I didn't know
cards I wanted to save for someday
when I met him
cards I would throw in the garbage
on the way home from school
before my mother could find them

long before I learned about genetics
I wondered what parts of him
made up what parts of me
and why just being me
was never enough

when people ask me how I came to be a writer
I often tell them it's because I had no father
and all my life I've been making up stories about who is
and why he never came back for me
pretending he was off adventuring
pretending he would someday return to claim me
righting my upside-down world
pretending anything
was easier than accepting that maybe
he was never coming back
because he never wanted me at all

the child I was
wanted so much to believe
that anything was possible
that all fathers love their daughters
that all families belong together
but fairy tales don't often come true
and little girls grow up to learn
that some holes are best left alone
before they swallow you whole
and you lose yourself
to what you never knew
and forget
who you have become

@copyright Susan Taylor Brown 2010
    All Rights Reserved
There are so many stories only you can tell.Tell them, please.


( 25 comments — Leave comment )
April 1st, 2010 09:08 am (UTC)
Absolutely beautiful.
April 2nd, 2010 07:47 am (UTC)
Thank you.
April 1st, 2010 11:41 am (UTC)
Beautiful and sad. The yearning is so palpable.
April 2nd, 2010 07:50 am (UTC)
Thank you, Jama. I imagine there will be a lot of sad as I work my way through things this month but hopefully I'll come out of it all in the sunshine.
April 1st, 2010 12:56 pm (UTC)
Powerful, Susan. You made me feel that daddy sized hole. An amazing writer you are.
April 2nd, 2010 07:52 am (UTC)
Thank you for the kind words, Deb. These are all going to be quick poems written in one sitting so I love that this one connected with you.
April 1st, 2010 01:51 pm (UTC)
Susan,lifes unsolved problems put down on paper can release some of the pain. We know where we have been, and hope, will take us forward. You did a great job at expressing how you felt and how you still feel. May life send you many sweet memories from this day forward.
April 2nd, 2010 04:20 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much. You're right that in the writing, we can let go so of what has been holding us back.
April 1st, 2010 02:35 pm (UTC)
Heartwarming. Definitely beautiful with tinge of sadness. I agree that writing heals our wounded hearts.
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April 2nd, 2010 04:20 pm (UTC)
Thank you.
April 1st, 2010 03:50 pm (UTC)
Your poem made me cry. I had a dad that loved me and did the best he could. My sons were adopted from the foster care system and even though we are a family, I think part of them still grieves every single day for the mom and dad that left them.
April 2nd, 2010 04:20 pm (UTC)
It's a hurt that never quite goes away, no matter how much is right in the rest of your world. Kudos to you to making a family for your sons.
April 1st, 2010 07:09 pm (UTC)
Oh, Susan. Such a powerful poem, especially those last lines. I think many of us have holes in our lives, so big and gaping that you can fall right into them and never get out. Brave you for exploring this one!
April 2nd, 2010 04:17 pm (UTC)
Thank you, Amy. Here's hoping I can be brave for the rest of the month!
April 1st, 2010 07:31 pm (UTC)
Wow! Very moving. Took me back to similar childhood questions.

Please don't stop telling your stories. They're fabulous and right-on.
April 2nd, 2010 04:19 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much. I love that icon of yours!
April 1st, 2010 09:05 pm (UTC)
I think emotional honesty is its own kind of perfection. Thanks for a great start to an April filled with poetry!
April 2nd, 2010 04:18 pm (UTC)
Thank you, Mary Lee.
April 1st, 2010 09:35 pm (UTC)
April 2nd, 2010 04:17 pm (UTC)
(Deleted comment)
April 2nd, 2010 04:17 pm (UTC)
Thank you.
April 2nd, 2010 03:59 pm (UTC)
I love the way you embedded how you became a writer here. What a brave adventure you are on. I am looking forward to this month of poems very very much.
April 2nd, 2010 04:18 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Jeannine. I hope I can build up to going deeper as the month goes on. These are quick, one sitting poems, in no particular order so it will be interesting to see what develops over the month.
April 2nd, 2010 10:30 pm (UTC)
This is such a moving poem - very powerful.


April 4th, 2010 04:06 pm (UTC)
Thank you.
( 25 comments — Leave comment )

Who am I?I was born on the Cancer/Leo cusp and share a birthday with Ernest Hemingway and Robin Williams. The similarities don't stop there as I can go from depressed to ecstatic without ever passing go. I feel scared most of the time though my friends call me brave and I find it easier to believe in my friends than to believe in my own abilities to make what I want out of my life.

Who am I? A wife, a mother, a daughter, and even, gulp, a grandmother.

Who am I? A writer who never gets tired of playing with words, even when the words are hard to find. A writer of books for children and articles for grown-ups and many things in-between.

Who am I? A motivational speaker, writing instructor, workshop leader and full-time follower of dreams.

Who am I? Read and find out.

Susan Taylor Brown

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