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Alexandria Villegas: “Ghazal for a Deadbeat Dad”

Tomorrow's Voices Today

Ghazal for a Deadbeat Dad

You held us in your arms when we were small.
You bent down and kissed our foreheads. You were our dad.  

You took us to the park and pushed us on the swings.
You held us tight so we wouldn’t fall. You were our dad.  

You played with us in the lowlight of our room.
You made our teddy bears talk and jump around. You were our dad.  

You took us out of school for a day at Disneyland.
You lead us on rides and we had a magical time. You were our dad.  

You also gave us ramen and Banquet Meals for dinner.
You got steak for you and Mom. You were our dad.  

You pushed my brothers to the floor and hurled the dishes.
You punched a hole in the wall. You were our dad.  

You screamed at my mother and made us cry.
You made us hide in the back room closet out of fear. You were our dad.  

You made my mother cry and feel like she was worthless.
You cheated on her. You were our dad.  

You left us alone to fend for ourselves.
You almost never paid child support. You were our dad.  

You never even call to wish us Happy Birthday.
You’d rather start another family with her. You’re not our dad. 

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