Just Like My Dad

The sunrise danced vibrant streaks of salmon, orange and red
Across the still dark, waking sky
Dad missed it, though Mom tried her best
to draw him out from under the covers
And join her on the front porch steps

This isn’t the first sunrise he’s missed
I don’t think I ever heard him talk about one
That he thought was worthy of his sober presence
But he even missed my junior high graduation last week–
An important sunrise in my life

The front screen door slammed shut
As my exasperated mother took in another sunrise alone
Things have gotten worse at home
since Dad went on permanent disability two years ago
They were never good, his drinking and all
He doesn’t even try anymore, to help himself
Or do anything useful

I resent him, his ugly self-pity
How he doesn’t shave for sometimes three days
How he won’t learn to live without his right hand
It’s only a hand I screamed to my mother
Who, like always, took his side over mine

His hand’s not the issue
He was selfish even with two hands
I loved baseball for a long time
All I ever wanted was for Dad to play catch with me in the front yard
So my friends could see my Dad spent time with me
That he loved me more than his whiskey

He fell down the basement stairs yesterday morning
Just as I was leaving for school
Mom rushed to him, as he lay on the cold basement floor
He blamed his fall on his missing hand
His breath reeked of whiskey
I knew otherwise
I listened as he cursed God for taking away his life

As I brushed my teeth this morning
I saw Dad in the mirror
His face was written all over mine
I cursed him and God
Because I knew then
I would turn out just like him