I heard a swish resounding through the air

It was close, so up I looked with a glare,

Daddy stood smiling, and laughing at me,

I began to smile, eyes filled with glee.

Daddy threw another ball to my right,

And, watching it, I ran with all my might,

I caught it just an inch from the ground,

Grasping a ball that felt square and not round.

I looked down and my eyes grew large and wide,

Daddy had bought me a lion and its pride,

I squealed and hugged him, leaving him no space,

A glowing smile lit up Daddy's face.

"Daddy, will you play with me?" I begged him,

As tears welled up in my eyes to the brim,

He laughed and said, "Yes," grabbing a baseball

While I stuck out my tongue and snatched a doll,

Daddy played with me 'til day bowed for night,

But I was not done playing, no, not quite,

So Daddy made me a pinky promise,

"We will play tomorrow, sweetness, honest."

Morning's sun woke me and I sprang from bed,

Happily recalling what Daddy said,

I raced to his room, opening the door,

Expecting to hear his annoying snore,

But the room was strangely silent and dark,

Not even our pit-bull let out a bark,

Daddy was sleeping soundly like a log

That won't do so I stepped over the dog,

Tiptoeing to his bedside, silent and sly,

Looking at his face with a smiling eye,

I cupped my hands around my mouth, grinning,

Thinking that in a race, I'd be winning,

"Wake up!" I exclaimed in his ear, laughing,

Expecting him to jump up, shocked, gasping,

But Daddy didn't jerk; Daddy didn't jump,

Daddy kept sleeping in a silent slump.

I blinked, eyebrows scrunching, and poked his arm,

Waiting for his eyes to pop with alarm,

But still he sat, sleeping, stiff as a board,

No matter how much options I explored,

I prodded him harder, flinging his legs

I felt like I stood on cracked, soggy eggs,

"Daddy, Daddy," I shouted and I shook,

My stomach dangling over a hook,

I flinched as my hand brushed over his skin,

It was cold as ice and his arms—so thin!

Daddy's face looked so pallid and ashen,

Like someone painted him white with passion,

Daddy looked like a ghost, transparent, pale,

The air around him smelled funny and stale,

I wrinkled my nose and covered my face,

Eyes peeking at Daddy over the lace,

My legs started shaking and my arms too,

I nudged Daddy one more time, but I knew,

He wouldn't move—he was probably sick,

Just like Mommy when she played the same trick,

I didn't like that—I don't like it now,

Mommy only said she was taking a bow,

But she left Daddy and me in the night—

Daddy said she was going on a flight,

I shook my head fiercely and hugged my knee,

Daddy would never do the same to me!

I peered at Daddy, sleeping in the bed,

My arm reaching out, then stopping instead,

"Daddy," I choked, whispering quietly,

"You broke your promise . . . you didn't play with me."