A Strange Man

Daddy warned me not to be alone with strange men

but I’m alone again and again
with my own masculine side–
the stranger I don’t trust with my inner child.
The little girl inside me just wants a father
but all she has is a voice drowned out by a mental court order.
He has abused her mother, who pushes him away
then takes him back for validation, the girl perks up: will daddy stay?
Only to lose him, again and again,
so he’s always in that category of “strange men.”
He’ll abandon his family and everyone will cry
not realizing that he — that I — could make amends if we would try.
The fighting family in my head
is not just me fighting with myself as I go to bed.
It’s my own family in a microcosm
and the child I hold to my bosom
is the bit of me that hasn’t grown up yet
because before she says her vows to herself, she must get
her father to walk her down the aisle, and he’s late.
She’s small and helpless and all she can do is wait.
The man in the old house has changed
but the ole’ man in my attic is still deranged.
bats in the belfry, clock tower frozen
My mind doesn’t know 21 years from a dozen.
Its characters don’t know updates, they know habits.
So even though my father has caught up, they haven’t.
I’m afraid of my own inner masculine side
because of what it might bind:
One epoch to another,
me to my father,
the same damn thing:
The dance of bother.
The raging fights,
the sleepless nights,
the swelling eyes
from tears that ebb and flow like tides.
the part of him that’s still in me
because I was too young to see
that I didn’t have to take on everyone.
I needed a father, not a son.
And now things have changed quite a bit.
We take long car rides, shoot the shit
but when I’m dropped off and on my own,
I’m so scared to be alone.
I’m afraid of my own inner masculine side
because of the stranger it might hide
The abusive habits seem to be dead
but they live on inside my head.
I can’t get in the car and go for a ride
I’d be alone with a strange man, myself, so I hide.

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