Runny-nosed and chapped-lipped, I sat on the concrete steps of my grandmother’s Row house waiting for a Daddy That never came. Eighty-Six degrees, cumulus Clouds, ice cream dripping through fingers Like pink swirls scribbled on brown skin, Mama walked back and forth From the green wooden screen door To the yellow chalked sidewalks searching For god in human form. That’s who you were then—a man Whose promises planted the seeds of a woman Scorned, and I am so tired of the memory. Zip line twenty years, I grieve, Afraid of sleep that gnaws Me back to adolescence. Memory Rushes through me, spewing from my mouth In waves, and I am exhausted. If only you knew How your absence made the familiar strange. Today, I am reading you this poem On your deathbed, while Anita Baker moans About a love so sweet, her voice seeps through The paper-thin walls like honey. You weep. Tired Of this poem, you wrestle with guilt as sleep Pulls you under.
Antoinette M. Wiley
Antoinette M. Wiley is a writer, editor, writing coach, and foodie based in Cleveland, Ohio. She holds an MA in Creative Writing from Cleveland State University and an MFA from Antioch University Los Angeles. Antoinette is currently working on a speculative short story collection that takes place in a reimagined Cleveland, Ohio.