Never would you have met such a violent twelve-year-old
nearly threatening to punch an orderly who told her,
patronizingly, that her seizing father should wait in the room
for there to be space. My mother chose that moment
to come in and protect the man with the doggy scrubs from the
healthily underweight girl protecting her father.
Almost seven years later, they return; he pops a Keppra
before he can lose control. This time, under doctor’s orders, we are
smart. Men who act like giants, ducking under our doors
come to take my father away. And I sit there on the couch, curled in a ball,
like a child, subdued, understanding the severity finally. But I had to leave.
“Come see this!” he says, as he pulls his skullcap
of religious purposes to the side, showing me the line
that saved his life. And while I throw up in my mouth a little,
I laugh because I should. And because he’s alive.
Two days of sitting, waiting, explaining to friends and professors
why my phone was clutched in my hand. The classroom became my waiting
room and the phone, the PA system announcing it, making sure he had made it.
I had assured them many times that I could – and would – leave
so I could help to do anything to be that violent twelve-year-old again.
Now, I see my dad’s scar and I laugh because there’s nothing left for me to do.