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Capella

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i never did a single thing but love you and
you broke me to pieces on the floor

daddy,
when i was seven and we still lived
in the suburbs and you spent of your time working -
growing that forest of plants in our basement -
i couldn't see why you wouldn't play catch with me like the other daddies and their little boys,
and mind you,
i was not your little boy -
but i was your capella, wasn't i? your baby. so
i scoured the neighborhood and somehow (i don't even remember)
found you a glove,
and one for me,
and i was so proud of myself that i rushed in to tell you and
you were on the sofa, sleeping -
dirty needles on the table next to you,
and i woke you up - "daddy,
look what i found, come play with me!"
and you said, not now -
abernethy was coming to pick up some stuff and you couldn't play,
so leave me alone and maybe later,
and i waited outside on the back porch and watched all of the little girls down the street
jump into their father's arms,
and later never came - but you'd be proud of me maybe,
because i was just like you - i didn't give back the things i borrowed, either,
daddy.

i was twelve when the policemen started loitering outside of our house,
so you shook me in the middle of the night and told me to take all i owned, so I
packed it all into a little blue bag: encyclopedias i read again and again,
little girl dresses that were far too small and flowers that i still have -
remnants of suburbia. remnants of some kind of
home - like a dreams being shoved into my mind of
things i could never achieve under normal means, but it was home -
the only place i'd ever known,
but daddy, you promised i'd
love the city, so i should
shut up and stop whining.

people moved fast in the city and never stopped to take a look -
that's the first lesson i learned the day i came to philadelphia,
wondering where on earth the grass ever went -
when did i stop looking out the window and it faded from sight?
there was no space to breathe in the city,
and i was afraid of the people who came to our house,
clad in more tattoos,
and men who eyed me on the street and the way you spent
more than half your time unconscious on the couch,
not wanting me around.
somehow, i ran out of places to go.

when high school started, i finally became you daughter -
mcallen, they called me, my last name, and i dealt drugs -
just like you, right, daddy? i was better. i was best. i was getting rich and rich and
i didn't care.
not that it was illegal or wrong,
just didn't care.
i took drugs sometimes, sold them, fought fire, set fires,
sobbed my eyes out in movie theaters, threw knives at
strangers. i was unstoppable/irreversible/capella.

one day you were gone -
you and mom both. where you went,
i'll never know, because believe me -
i looked in every corner 'till i gave up and made myself a cardboard house on the corner and
my own little sign, begging for money after i was expelled -
bought loaves of bread and books, mostly -
still do, because i can be unstoppable/irreversible/capella if i want,
and she always wanted to learn chinese from books of foreign characters - i walk to chinatown and the world spins.
i come back into my own little blur and it falls into yellow space.
minutes pass.
hours pass.
days passes.
weeks, months, who cares?
i'm just a girl in a cardboard box in a corner who failed,
just like you, daddy. and the people here? they don't care.
i am not their problem, just as i was never your
miracle.



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