I’m in a box, I’m underground Can’t breathe or move, to fears I’m bound The smoke is dark, my lungs are tight Too scared to scream, too weak to fight My childhood hope, a sunken dream A sick and withering wreck My tears, my pain, an anchor Wrapped tight around my neck “Dad, can you hear me?” Silence Okay, I’ll try again I pause, I know. He’s hiding I close my eyes and count to ten “Dad,” why can’t you hear me? Why don’t you answer back? Is it me? I’ll change. I’ll try. But why? Please just tell me that. The last call hurts the most, I think Have I done something wrong? I feel someone there, but it’s not him The dad I know is gone The mask he wears conceals his soul A shadow self, confined Perhaps, his mask reveals his truest form And all this time he lied I hold his hand, but he lets go He drifts right before my eyes Doesn’t he like me anymore? It’s not this. He just loves his new disguise His face has changed, His voice reframed I often ask God how “That’s how addiction works, my child” He can’t love you just for now I wonder how he does this He doesn’t seem that lost He seems to have found himself, in fact My sister and I, the cost I wake up, and it’s Christmas Day The first time I’ve held his hand since May Unhappy? No. He seems okay Thank God, he loves me, at least today Dad, can you hear me? Silence. He never came to stay I wonder if what works on him Will help fix my pain today? And so it goes I bury my woes No tears at first, I smile Everyone seems to like this me Pain suppressed, for a while “Fran, can you hear me?” Silence My mum screams with all her might It’s me that now can’t say a word I’ve become that shadow in the night I’ve numbed my pain, completely For loss, I’m well prepared My fears live inside a bottle now No longer weak, no longer scared “Fran, you’ve got a problem” Stop, I think. They’ll blow it I can’t go back to that child I was But then before I know it I’m in a box, I’m underground Can’t breathe or move, to fears I’m bound The smoke is dark, my lungs are tight Too scared to scream, too weak to fight Hello, I say but NO ONE comes Not dad, not mum, just me I know exactly where I am My eyes are free to see Immersed in soil and thick brown mud I’m in an early grave I drowned my pain, and it buried me I became the dad I couldn’t save And so, I chose to change this year I turned five months sober in May So, thanks, but no, I won’t have “just one” Not tomorrow, NOT TODAY.
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