Polka Dot Wellies
You’re disappointed in me—
drooped mouth, mute eyes—
but you hide it well.
I’m that unwanted “accident” child
(that too soft, too sharp
of fragile crystal)
crushing under your pressure.
Rare. (adj.) When you smile
at me, pull me closer for a hug.
Darkened eyes, tight shoulders.
I feel your beard
Once, you called me a wannabe. Photocopy
of a sister smudged by printer ink.
You told someone casually,
“We don’t get along well.”
Your frown is sharp, your words
X-ACTO-blade precise. Can a father
be a Father without loving me?
I see myself running down Norfolk
beaches—the squelch of rocky mudflats
in spring against polka dot wellies.
Your voice catches on wind
gusts in my ears—I’ve never liked
from your lips.
I see myself turn around in yellow-orange
memory, see blonde wisps dance in my
But I’ll stay quiet.
You haven’t learned yet that your
would rather traipse through Norfolk mud
than ever live