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Daddy Issues

by Ed Doerr

Put it in my mouth, Daddy:

absence, a communion wafer.

Daddy, sanctify me.

Baptize me in deceit.

A hand on the throat,

a lip ribboned with blood.

Your calloused fingers

scrape my teeth—

smoke licks the walls

in the rooms of my heart.

Make me gag on it:

a place at the table,

dead moths for eyes?

Rile me into a bruise—

pain is truth, Daddy,

& this one bites,

cold steel on skin:

it’s an empty chair, Daddy.

Love is an empty chair.

Ed is a teacher and the author of 'Sautéing Spinach With My Aunt' (Desert Willow Press, 2018). He was selected as a featured poet for Cathexis Northwest Press. Other words can be found in Water/Stone Review, Hippocampus Magazine, One Teen Story, Perhappened, Drunk Monkeys, Flypaper Lit, & several more. Readers can follow him on Twitter (@EdDoerrWrites) and visit his website (


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