My Dad Is Peter Pan

Playing life is not fun

With a shadow for a father.

The only time I see the real form

Is when he weeps

Or verbally punches me

Or rages

And sometimes when he is having non-manipulating fun.

Those are real and I see glimpses of his face.

The rest of the time I see dark


That confuse

My longings.

The form is never accurate.

Too big

Or is it too small?

Like he is flitting too fast

Between ten circus mirrors

That constantly spin in circles.

I have got to hold on

To something else

Because I am dizzy

Trying to see you.

This shadow has been a presence

All my life

Sort of.

Darting around the room,

It was really fun chasing it

To try to make him smile

Or at least hope he is.

But I am tired of that game

Because I can never pin him down.

He always got the best of me

To hide

Then the rest of me did too.

I attempted to come out to be held

And he would try

But shadows give sorry hugs

Not to mention they are silent with meaning.

Other people think his antics are funny

and his uniqueness draws people who need help with religion.

I do not care what they say about him

Because they never longed for a daddy there.

My shadow was around all the time

But it never really kept me safe

Or listened to my pleas

Even though he promised.

How can a shadow really protect anyone

Besides itself.

I think that is why my real dad transformed

Himself into something else


Yet controlling


Yet affecting


Yet seeing.

I wish he would have chosen differently

Because it really hurts me

When people ask me where my dad is

Because I have no idea.

This Red Tent writer has asked to remain anonymous. It is our privilege to honor her request.