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Our trajectory is unknowable, you
tell me: the planet
corkscrews around the Sun, sure,

but the Sun corkscrews around
a black hole at
the heart of the Milky Way,

and our whole galaxy travels on
some mysterious, incalculable vector. But sister, I
saw a photograph in

which two whale
sharks were brought to
heel by men in simple reed boats just

off the coast of the Philippines.
All that they had
to do was often feed

the whales gallons upon gallons
of frozen shrimp, poured from
plastic garbage

bags into their six-foot
gaping maws to portside.
Gargantuan, sure, but still

as obedient and eager for food
as backyard squirrels. I
remembered a grainy

internet video—I saw
it probably seven or
eight years back—in which

a captured whale shark
was winched
ashore in Madagascar, or

maybe it was the
Philippines again—no matter—
the thing still had life left

in it and struggled to
breathe while a crowd of
people gathered around—there were

women carrying babies,
girls holding baskets atop
their heads—and then the

men came with a long slender
blade and sliced clean through
the whale’s spine, vivisected it

right on the dock, and
the onlookers stood there quite
unfazed—I remember

being shocked at
the effortlessness of the cut,
the pinkness of the whale’s blood,

and the boredom in the onlookers'
eyes. Our father
took us down to San Antonio

on one of his business
trips there when we were five
or six—I think

you were probably
too young to
remember it—

it was when you and I
saw the ocean for the first
time. We drove down

to the Gulf of Mexico,
and we saw waves breaking
out near the horizon in pale

sunlight. I kept
scanning for a dorsal
fin off beyond

the breakers, thinking
that I might spot one—
sandy brown, mottled with

cream spots and glistening—so
that I might be able to
say to you, pointing, “look,

sister, there is a whale
shark!” Years
later we would learn

that he traveled down
to San Antonio so
frequently because he was a

philanderer. As a child I
believed that whale sharks
crisscrossed the ocean following

paths that we couldn’t
fathom, that
their concerns were

somehow beyond our
comprehension, but then
Keppler pinned down

the shape of the
Earth’s orbit over four hundred
years ago,

and the lives of ancient
sea titans are sundered

by men with indifferent faces.
is 2d
In a bedroom in small-town Pennsylvania,
you’ll find an unmade bed,
a pile of clothes on the floor—
clean but not folded,
open drawers and dusty shelves,
a desk in the corner of the room
with pictures laid across it.

When I caught my first fish at six.
I held it at arm’s length by the fishing line
to avoid the slimy scales,
a frown on my face from being forced
to sit silently in the cold.

When my family went to Marco Island,
my sister and I, sifting sand for the best seashells
in our matching swimsuits and hats.
Mom and dad’s fights forgotten in our fun.

High school graduation
posing with my best friend since first grade,
diplomas in one hand and an extra cap held between us
because not everyone survived all four years.

Move-in day at college,
sitting on my raised bed with a grey comforter
and two decorative pillows the color of cotton candy.
Sweat on my brow from southern humidity
and moving furniture without the help of a father.

The pictures are merely snapshots
that lack the full story.

How I learned what it meant for love to fall apart
when I was eight years old.
My sister warned me before it happened,
told me what a divorce was.
I mistook her for joking until they called us upstairs.
Dad cried when they told us, but mom held her tears
until the day he left. The sounds of her cries
escaping from behind a closed door.
“This doesn’t mean we don’t love each other.”
But that’s exactly what it meant.

How I was taught by my father that love is conditional,
and I repeatedly needed to prove myself
through good grades and unquestioning obedience.
Forced to stay home to spend time with the family,
sitting wordlessly on the couch while he watched TV.
Made guilty for wanting to spend time with friends
because that somehow meant that I was a bad daughter.
It’s funny—I never asked myself if he was a good father.

If you look harder at the bedroom,
you’ll find journals filled with bitter words,
screws from disassembled pencil sharpeners, loose razors, and Aquaphor,
food wrappers stuffed in hidden places,
a closet brimming with junk and pairs of shoes,
evidence of a story untold. Until you.
Zywa 5d
When dad comes home, he

brings many countries with him:

Dreams run through my blood.
Song "Bloed in mijn bloed" ("Blood in my blood", 2023, Wende Snijders)

Collection "Passage Passion"
Zywa 6d
The empty chair may

not be my father's chair, but --

I do miss him now.
Song "Lege stoelen" ("Empty chairs", 2023, Wende Snijders)

Collection "VacantVoid"
SiouxF Aug 27
Ours was a complex relationship,
Full of pride and bitter sweet,
But underneath the fiery rage,
The criticism and put downs,
Were the broken hearts of a
father and daughter,
Who both wanted
Above all,
To love
Be loved.
Mom says, “You need a therapist,”
No need mama for trauma.
They can all drink ****,
Got no daddy drama.
God placed me under the shower,
So Devil can ***.
Forgiven hour,
A judgment beating drum.
Dance violent in my own dark,
Raising spirits of my own.
With demon called snark,
Other angel to pwn.
Souls to bleed and let out all sin,
Come Kingdom Come let it begin…
Madeleine Aug 22
My Child
You're in a boat
And I am your oar
You'll make it farther in life
When you involve me in every aspect
If you choose not
You'll drift wherever the waters take you
Soon to be lost
Without even knowing
Elliott Jul 27
He looks in the mirror, distraught. Is he...getting old?

Because it felt like only yesterday he was chasing the woman of his dreams and fawning over his little girl.

He hasn't felt like himself in a long time, the mental illness drowning his thoughts of truth and reality, blinding his minds eye.

Some days he doesn't surface from the rolls of waves pulling him under, some days he flies higher than any kite in the sky because this is his reality.

He is bipolar. He is desperate. He is alone and the fear of growing older slowly gnaws at his insides.

He misses the way things used to be, the world is but a confusing shell of what it once was...much like himself.

He clings to memories of a happier past, a brighter time when the future didn't look so bleak and the kiss of death didn't seem to be pulling him in closer with every breath he takes.

He longs for love like most rugged men do, and yet he finds only a small portion of the comfort he once had in her arms.

He longs for a life filled with success, where he doesn't have to worry anymore, where he can finally fill that hole that has been empty since the dawn of his existence.

Some days he longs for the waves to pull him under, to fall asleep one last time and leave nothing behind except a life lived of regret and a world in which he no longer fits in.

And yet when he wakes up each morning, a look of disappointment crosses his face as he realizes another day trudges on.

This is the story of my father and the man he grew to be, or maybe the man he always was. His story is not yet completed, his chapter not yet closed and like it or not,

I am his sequel.
Caosín Jul 14
Deceivingly simple, we sit down
On our ****** plastic step stools
After school in the kitchen.
You ask me how my day was. I say
Fine thanks, learned about quadratics.
I ask you where you went cycling. You say
Oh, you know, the usual. Round out
That way, and back. The usual.
We sit in silence for amount as I cut a slice of apple and hold it out to you across the room.
You take it, and we sit on our ****** plastic step stools
In the kitchen after school,
Sharing silence and an apple.
And I almost love the crisp, cool crunch
As much as I love you.
I love a good crisp apple ngl
Beulin S S Jul 12
my comfy mattress,
showed your hard work;
you broke your comfort
to give me the best.

You love me,
But, I owe this life to you.

Real love will never look for benefits.
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