by Susannah Richardson

When I was five, I asked what to call you, and you said daughters don’t call their fathers by their names. Call me Da—It’s what Irish children do, but I didn’t know that then and you didn’t tell me. Never one for explanations, I never found one after you decided this world wasn’t yours anymore. Other kids used to think I had forgotten a ‘d’ when I wrote about you. Other kids didn’t know what to say to a girl with a dead dad. Now I drive your old battered Lincoln and only ever look at one photo of you. Young smile, dark hair ruffled back, wearing burgundy corduroys and a suede jacket. A perfect stranger. I make up a different claim to every lover who sees it beside my bed. You’re a guitarist from some band, a TA from some class a few semesters ago, a friend of a friend, a real nice guy, really. All the other pictures of you are put away for good and no one ever asks about my father.

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