We Stay For The Kids

Dear father,
I’ve seen you walking in at 1am,
or not come in at all.
Dear father, I’ve seen the pictures on your phone,
I recognized my friend Sheila in one.

Your finger is empty,
just an indentation of the ring left.
I asked you,
you said you were resizing it,
twas too tight.
I wonder how,
yet this is the fittest I’ve seen you since ’99.

Dear Father,
I see the silence between you and mother.
I know she took the bedroom down the hall,
and spends more time in chama now.
I heard her say she stays for the kids,
I saw you tell a girl you stay for the kids.

Eddie thinks it is his fault.
I try to explain as best as I can,
but no twelve year old will understand.
He now stays still,
afraid anything he does will worsen the situation.

Mother takes her anger out on us,
we walk on eggshells just to give her peace.
Eddie’s grades have been falling,
neither you nor mother notice.
The teacher called to say he beat someone up,
Eddie didn’t have an excuse.

Dear father, is this love?
Is this what marriage is about?
Twenty years down the line,
will I have to contend with a cheating husband,
kids thinking they’re to blame,
Pain hidden behind anger and chama?

Dear father,
I write this to give our blessings.
End the marriage,
don’t stay for us.
It hurts when you stay for us.

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