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One of my favorite things in the world is to spend time with high school girls. I think because I was once a high school girl. This poem is to all the girls out there.

He. One word and two letters. That word brought bitterness into my mouth. He stood there. He walked there. He sat there twisting his fingers amidst his black curly hair.

He. One word that brought me so much comfort. So much strength. He. In the beginning I felt like I could conquer the world. There was nothing I could not do. Because it was so in his eyes. He. One word that could give me strength and comfort once and then a second time slowly strip all of it away.

He. He wanted me to be what he wanted me to be. I was not what he wanted me to be so he left me. He. I wasn’t his ideal? Was I not dark enough? Was I not loud enough? Was I not confident enough? Or… Should I allow myself to go there… Am I not skinny enough? All of these things he might have wanted me to be.

Again the salt like an ocean pours into my mouth creating a bitter taste. My stomach starts to become wheezy. That one word with two letters.

He. He stood over me with his crossed brow. “How do you have friends?” He shouted. Daddy’s home! Daddy’s home. My heart remembered the song. Little did he know. Little does he know. Little had he known. He was neglecting me, but he was controlling me. “You are the problem in this family” he shouted louder. Daddy’s home daddy’s home again my hearts fond memories being kicked in the side. He said the most damaging words in front of those I loved. And I cried.

How I wish that could be taken back. How I wish I could have done something better in order not to deserve that. How I wish I could erase it from my mind. Forever forgive him who I call father. Then when “he” is mentioned my stomach could be calm and my heart could beat again filling with life. Singing daddy’s home again.

There he was at the bar. He watched me smiling admiring me in the only way he knew how. The only way I knew. I tipped back the glass he handed me salt around the top with a lime to cut the strong bitter taste .
He. Three times. There was light in their eyes each time but it was not love. Could there be lust? Three times my body cringed after disgusted by itself. The pain of wanting to forget like a lime in a cup came pouring out in a strong liquid of self hate.

I told him that comment hurt me. I know I would still recognize the sound. The sound of him or something of an echo. He laughed a snarling chuckle each time I said “that hurt”. I had to say it multiple times. Words hurt. One word can break or make. One word is powerful. He, in a girls life can make or break. Words. One word and two letters.

But he. He was there the whole time. He watched each scene. He saw each sip of bitter salt I took. He saw each word I bore on my bent, naked back. He saw each response. Yet he loves. I was not what he wanted I was not who he created. And yet am I enough? He says yes. Two letters one word.

Light washes through the heart. Brightness fills my eye. All in the past still stings but not longer burns. Strength builds. As he says yes. Wait, I am enough?

Before I would sing daddy’s home daddy’s home. But He will sing my daughter is home my daughter is home. He is all about me. I call him father and he calls me enough. He has made me a daughter.

PHOTOS BY Lex Gordon 


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