Father and Daughter by Frank Reardon

When the Father
told his daughter
he didn’t have the money
to take her
to see the new
Christmas movie

she smiled
and said: “it’s okay
Daddy, you can
go to the machine
that gives you

The father
told her that’s not
how it works

“Isn’t money for everyone?”
She asked, her 4 year old eyes
with the 1.99 ornaments
she picked out
for the tiny tree

“For everyone?”
He replied.

“Yeah! Everyone
gets money because
it’s Christmas.”

The father kissed her
head, and turned
on ‘White Christmas’
for her.
He went in the bathroom,
pulled out the bottle
of Heaven Hill whiskey
hidden behind the towels
and took a long swill

with his daughter singing
in the other room,
he grabbed the sink,
looked in to the mirror
and felt his heart
shatter. Maybe
he could go back to school,
write a book,
get a better job?
He thought of punching
the mirror
because he couldn’t
stand to look at the years
of failure in his face

but she kept singing,
her voice: a string
of bright lights
wrapped throughout
his ribcage.

He tilted the bottle
one more time
but not before
a sudden mix
of determination
and fairy tales
stole the failure
of his tears.

Frank Reardon was born in 1974 in Boston, Massachusetts, and currently lives in Minot, North Dakota. Frank has published poetry and short stories in many reviews, journals and online zines. His first poetry collection, Interstate Chokehold, was published by NeoPoiesis Press in 2009 as well as his second poetry collection Nirvana Haymaker in 2012. His third poetry collection Blood Music was published by Punk Hostage Press in 2013. In 2014 Reardon published a chapbook with Dog On A Chain Press titled The Broken Halo Blues. Frank is currently working on more short fiction.

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