(This poem comes from a reader named Joseph.)
I grow old outside;
but deep inside I’m still that five-year-old
who needs to crawl into Daddy’s arms
and know I’m safe and loved.
It’s not his fault.
He died before I was born.
After church, I see the boy run to his daddy
who stoops down to catch him in his arms
both laughing at the joy of being held.
Arms around Daddy’s neck,
the boy nuzzles his head on love’s shoulder.
Sorrow disintegrates me.
I lived abandoned in our house.
One day in the men’s room at the park,
a fatherly man reached for me
made me feel wanted.
I did not know I was abused, that he was perverse;
we briefly met each other’s twisted needs.
I searched for other father-substitutes,
found public men’s rooms where they waited,
accepted their minutes of pseudo-love,
then watched them hurry out when they were done with me
A starving child will eat from any garbage can.