In Threes

By the ripe old age of three I’d learned

not to expect my father for dinner,

not to wonder why my mother cried every night, and

to eat whatever Granny made and to do my homework

so I could nourish my body and my brain.


By the ripe old age of thirteen I’d learned

that just because I had curves

it didn’t mean every male had to ride them.

That I wouldn’t find my father in the backseat

of someone’s car or the alley behind our house.


By the ripe old age of twenty- three I’d learned

how to love myself enough to love someone else.

I’d learned enough that I’d never leave my child at home

while I searched the streets for other company

or replacement parts.


By the ripe old age of thirty-three I learned

that forgiving my father empowered me.

It gave me the freedom to look past,

his failings as a father and look forward

to his performance as a grandfather.