Father By Emma Bleker


On the worst days, I forget my father has died.
I make him a very ugly martyr, he looks
exactly like me.
I find shadows of him in me so big
he could walk out and be, again, a full person.
On the best days, I remind myself that disease
is a family heirloom, tricky to keep safe.
My sister asks how much I am drinking and I say
it is all in good fun.
On my worst days I ask myself if I am impossible
to love sober. I find out for myself that I am. My father could not,
could not,
could not
find me now if he tried.
I am afraid every new person I love
will one day choose death over me,
though, I hold the same sickness. Though, I know
there is no choice, only disease.
I have contorted from what he left behind to grow, but
with this need to drown, or starve, a thing cannot
reasonably feed itself.
Since I was a child, I have had a problem with portioning.
I do not eat for days on end, and after, I try
to swallow the ocean
with my hands behind my back.
The pain of a full belly mirrors the ache
of a desolate one— they are sisters I cannot find
the father of.
Why do I call it father?
As if everything I cannot find
is “father.”
I must have murdered myself, too.
On the worst days, I promise him
I am coming home.
No, on my worst days,
the soft confusion that answers
the prayer to die, only ever like he did,
is the only god that has ever shown me
it is real.
By Emma Bleker


Emma Bleker is a 22 year old writer based out of Virginia. She has previously been published or is forthcoming in Philosophical Idiot, Persephone’s Daughters, Cahoodaloodaling, Yellow Chair Review, Thought Catalog, Rising Phoenix Review, and Skylark Review, among others. She probably wants to be your friend.

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