When you came to my room today
while I sat drawing pictures of dream gardens
trying hard to still the madness
I thought maybe you had decided
to listen at last.
Nothing’s been the same since the time
you waited until he wasn’t here
to tell us this:
In order to get married in his church
your marriage with Daddy
must be annulled.
“What does that mean?” Sister asked.
You sighed when you explained
it’s like saying on paper
your marriage never existed.
A new pain twisted
when you told us
Daddy already signed that paper.
Why didn’t you ask us first?
Shame stung me like a wasp—who am I now?
Dare I whisper
that dirty word—a bastard?
My fury burned inside
when you agreed
God’s Word has no such rule.
But your word was final.
After you left the room
I felt a lingering bitterness
like broken aspirin on my tongue.
I can’t wash it away
even with a gallon of water.
I have to eat and eat
until the bad taste is covered over.
I haven’t offered to help you
shape hundreds of cream cheese mints
or decorate the centerpieces
or glue pearls on your dress.
You haven’t asked or maybe
you’ve been too busy to notice.
Today a flash of hope sparked in my heart
as you stood at the door.
But when you narrowed your eyes
my hope quickly turned to ashes.
You talked to me with a sharp tone
as if I had caused trouble.
You demanded that I accept your marriage
whether I like it or not.
You spun around and slammed the door
before I could say a word.
My eyes brimmed so full with tears
the garden drawing became a blurry mess,
just another impossible dream world.
I put my face on the dresser
and sobbed in the darkness of my folded arms.
But I caught my breath remembering
God collects all my tears
in his special bottle.