Ghoul
Father is digging the ditch—

father says God is eloquent;
the dead dog is with him
and I am in the bathtub
head under, arms folded
over my breasts waiting
for a time when I can drown
myself without making my
mother cry.

Father is threatening to break
the daughter's neck.

Father is home.

Father dithers around the house
in the morning waiting
for the first slow signs of sound.

Father is a ghoul.

Father buried his brother.

Father makes her bones
crawl through her skin,
her toes are all broken
and bent from too much
dancing,

her choreography
kept him at bay, her
calve stretched too taught
for his wayward response.

She is all floppy ears
and crooked teeth.

Father is a solid mass
of hands and face and
mouth.

Father gives her words,
thinks she will not
remember;

she always remembers.

Father is in the yard
smiling at a neighbor,

she is in the bedroom,
facing out, scowl,
water drips down her back
from the bath, the water
grows cold so quickly,

she makes things awkward,
a reminder,

a refusal;

some men should not inherit
daughters.

Some girls will never belong
to daddy.