fathering

he reaches out
eyes wise and friendly
child come tell me
what’s wrong
tucking her fragile
against his strong line
years of weathering
years of strength
years of defeat
rolling off his skin
in waves like the sea
he took her twelve year old self to
she shakes her head
buried into his chest
nothing, pops, i promise
he doesn’t ask again
doesn’t know what or how
to make his baby girl
smile her mischief smile
age has nothing on parenting
twenty-five and broke
he doesn’t know why
but he doesn’t ask
he just hides her
against his body
from the world.

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