Poem: Candlelight

By: Robyn Tocker


I was playing “I Won’t Say”
on the piano when I realized
Daddy was dying
and I went to bed
humming “I Won’t Say”
because maybe
if I don’t say
God will let me keep Daddy
for one more day.

I was star gazing
with Adela Fontaine
and she held my hand
as a star fell. I wished
for her to kiss me
but instead Mom called
and told me to come home
because Dad had to go
back to the hospital.

I was eighteen, clinging to
the cusp of my womanhood
with Johnny’s hand under my shirt
and he promised he would never leave
but I knew it was a lie and I didn’t care
anyway. He was going to kiss me
when an officer knocked
on the back window and told me
something happened to my father.

I was holding my little girl
when the doctor called
and told me I had the c-word.
Johnny wasn’t home and Adela
moved to Spain with a French violinist
and my daughter didn’t see my tears.

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