Tucks her granddaughter in,
gazes into wide blue eyes,
flashes back to another girl –
now grown – apple cheeks,
and an unruly thicket of hair.
Nostalgia is shattered as
the child smiles back, lips
betraying a trace of another –
once father – whose absence
clouds the old woman’s heart.
She holds the child closer,
reassuring her undying love,
cannot not shake the echo
of words spoken only that day:
Kayla’s daddy always picks her up.
Told the teacher her dad is dead;
a reasonable conclusion for a
young mind unable to articulate
the questions in her heart: why
his name is only ever whispered.
Tries to draw his picture, talks
of missing his cuddles, surely,
cannot remember a man who
left before she was two – the
grandmother prays silently.
What will they say when she asks?
Niceties about how he wasn’t ready?
Leave her to believe she is somehow
lacking, unlovable, when in truth
it is he who is incapable of loving.
Chases women like cotton candy,
three or four a day, cannot help
himself, an internet-driven obsession,
uses his daughter’s picture as bait –
perhaps she is right, her father is dead.