by Len Kuntz
Reasons for living
never come cheap
is what my daughter tells me in the car
on the way home from the airport,
her fidgeting and
smelling of incense.
When I ask if she smoked on the plane
she calls me ridiculous,
dropping an F bomb.
I angle the rearview to
She’s as thin as rain
wearing a nose ring
and dreadlocks that look like
coils of dingy pillow stuffing.
I’ve missed her,
but now that she’s here I realize I’ve missed the daughter I had before,
the one who hugged my knees and called me Daddy,
who asked to be read a story or poem,
asked a million questions about anything and everything.
This young woman beside me seems a stranger,
She’s silent for a spell,
then tells me she changed,
changed for the better,
that she’s never going back
and I’d better get used to it.
At the restaurant she pushes lettuce leafs back and forth
across her plate, making windshield wiper motions.
She only eats a sprig of parsley.
She says she wants to see her mother now.
She says I should stop pretending to be somebody I’m not
and that it would be best for everyone involved if I
burned in hell.