He moved around, slowly,
Searching for his discarded whiskey bottle
or maybe a pair of clean socks;
I wasn’t sure.
His hair was greasy
and when he turned towards me, I could see
that the too-small shirt he wore was missing the bottom button.
His gluttonous gut consumed the waistband of his wrinkled trousers.
He gestured towards a chair beside his rumpled cot
and I, not wanting to be rude, perched on the chairs filthy edge.
He asked about my mother, forgetting that he had murdered her
forty years ago.
I told him she was fine and thought about him, often.
One lie would easily lead to another,
building, growing, gently nurtured
like a spring seedling
until it flowered and produced
what I needed.
“I need money, Dad,”
I told him, truthful this time.
He gestured again,
mute permission to steal.
I opened the closet door and took the shoebox from its spot on the shelf,
exactly where he had kept it when this had still been home.
The raggedy box was filled with bills.
I put all of them,
twenties, fifties, hundreds,
into the paper sack I had brought with me
and put the empty treasure chest back on its pedestal.
He moved towards me, skeletal arms stretched to embrace me;
I retreated to the door, barely escaping his grasping fingers,
the arms waiting to crush me with fatherly love.
He wanted to suffocate me with love,
the way his love had suffocated my mother
in the bed they shared.
I saw, as I closed the door behind me,
that he had returned to searching for his discarded whiskey bottle,
e a pair of clean socks.
I wasn’t sure
Jaime Nelson is an unemployed parent, mother, daughter, sister, aunt, and dreamer. Nelson resides in Arkansas with her daughter, mother, and neurotic cat. When not binge watching Netflix and writing snippets of poetry on her iPhone, Nelson enjoys wasting time playing mah jong and crocheting.
Mary Lou Springstead is a visual artist originally from Florida, who currently resides in Middlesbrough, UK. She is a nasty woman who is inspired by mythology, psychology, social and environmental justice, Surrealism and Outsider Art.