Writing Workshop

Poem A Day – Jacqueline Kirkpatrick – Divorcing My Father, at 8

Writing Workshop

Divorcing My Father, at 8

on the George Washington Bridge
at rush hour
you handed me a manila folder
then returned to putting your lipstick on

my last name was written first in black
and your last name in red

as we approached the bumper of a yellow cab
dirty with dents and scratches
you pulled a pen from your pocketbook
you slammed the brakes inches from the yellow
calling the driver a name I never heard you say before

opening the folder you pointed to a thick black line highlighted by a black x

“sign my name”

I finger the seatbelt
wishing we had hit the cab
imagining you getting out the car
now dented and scratched
screaming at the driver your racist, cold, empty words
and him slapping you
telling you to go home
back to your life
back to your children
back to your husband
back to you

“sign my name”

slowly, as I begin to write, you say each letter slowly
carefully, almost cautiously
you inspect my work
flip the visor and use pointer finger to push away the bleeding red lines from the corners

I close the manila folder
and my eyes
on the George Washington bridge
at rush hour

2 thoughts on “Poem A Day – Jacqueline Kirkpatrick – Divorcing My Father, at 8”

  1. Nice poem! Enjoyed it. The heartbreak is in the setting and the subtext of the actions…her pointing. I wondered–was the girl told to sign her own name, or her mother’s name (as it sounds, but why). Thank you.

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