There was an era—
more a lustrum—
still, a time when
fear evaded me:
When Daddy was my father,
not a ticking clock of glass.
Every cigarette that left his lips,
potentially his last,
did not phase me.
In ICU, he whispered,
with his birdsong voice enflamed
by fires he’d inhaled since
before my first day
There was a time when
every move I made
truly felt my own.
Nowadays, I tiptoe
to a darkened, morning room
where tiny little you finds me
with my father’s face,
freckles, and smile
fill my eyes with tears and blind me.
I ache the days I realize
you’ll never know the man
Little love, in truth
you’ll see me as glass, too,
and you’ll fret over how poorly assembled
how every ride in a car
is a threat to our state on this plane.
And when you watch me exhale smoke
on the porch while you eat lunch,
you’ll tell your friends mommy is a dragon
and you love my fire-breathing so much
that you hope you’ll be a dragon, one day, too.
And the light in your eyes will glow the same blue
as the speckled face on that ticking clock
the day he stood to watch me walk
from my first steps to cross the stage.
But darling boy made up of
clearest crystal ever seen,
you’ll be the first of us to fly
without the clouds around your wings.
By Katie Howard
Katie Howard is a writer and artist from Florida with no previous publications to date. Much of her work deals with loss or psychological conflict in the self. A new mother and recent graduate from UCF, she aspires to spark a more open dialogue about depression and post-partum depression.