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Posted by on Tuesday, June 28, 2011 in Features, Issue, July 2011.

I was raised by an alcoholic father

An atheist, an artist. A hard worker.

At the tender age of nine

I would sit with him at the kitchen table

A bottle of Johnny Walker Red between us

I would watch him drink

While he explained to me why there was no God.

Once I asked, “If you don’t believe in God, then why are you afraid of the dark?

I mean, if there is no God then there is no devil, right?”

I was just a little kid then and I didn’t understand.

Not all demons are that obvious, running around

in red suits,

Carrying pitch forks.

Some (my grandfather) hid behind alcohol and suicide.

Years later my daddy divorced my mother.

He remarried.

Found religion.

Is even a deacon at his church

(whatever the hell that means)

Now he ends all our calls with, “Come to church on Sunday—God loves you!”

It’s all I can do to keep from screaming.

I’m mean to my step-mother.

Call her “cow-pie face” behind her back.

Stare directly into her eyes until she turns away.

I refuse to give her a chance

Listen to rumors about her before she met my daddy, but who am I to judge?

I left home before I turned sixteen.

I’m forty years old now

I have a wonderful son and many reasons to be thankful

I remind myself every day.

But when I see the old man my daddy has become

I’m overcome with a sadness so heavy

It’s almost too much to carry.

We are so much alike—this Bible thumping stranger and me.

It has nothing to do with our brown eyes or high cheekbones

Our artistic abilities or the need to make something with our hands.

We are both just two lost children searching for our fathers.

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