questions (for maddy).


they came today,

a torrent of them,

an attempt to

make sense of

your little world,

combining the things

we talk about

every day in an


4 year

old’s level of comprehension.

while digging your

spoon into a bowl of

(what i learned from grandpa tom g. a few nights ago)

was your mom’s

favorite cereal.

“daddy, why did mommy want to buy this house?”

i was surprised. this

is not a question

you’ve asked before.

“she wanted you to have a yard to play in and she loved all of the trees and plants. especially the lemon and grapefruit trees.”

“oh. i love you, daddy. can i have some orange juice, please?”

then you asked

a bunch

of questions about

how grandmas can

also be moms.

then in the car…

“daddy, what did you and mommy do for fun?”

again, not a question

i’ve heard from

you before.

i told you about

our travels, our nights

with friends, everything

i could think

of before the next

question interrupted me…

“why was my mommy in the hospital?”

i told you

why she

was there, and how

her only care

in the world was

getting you

out safely.

as much as the

previous questions

took me by surprise,

the next one took

the wind out of me.

“daddy, did you hold my mommy’s hand when she died?”


as i tried to

breath and to

figure out how

to answer that one

(how do i explain to you at this point in your life that i was rushed out of the room so the doctors and nurses could work on you mom, and that it was impossible for me to hold her hand until after she had already died?).

i started bawling,

impossible to hide

my tears from you.

i did my best

to explain it to you,

but what i said

will never take

away what happened that day.

i looked in

my mirror to see

you reaching for me.

i reached back for

you, my hand now

in yours,

you rubbing my hand

the way i rubbed your


that day

(and many before it).

“daddy, i love you.”

you knew i

needed that.

“i love you too, maddy.”

sometimes i forget

how mature you are,

and how you understand

and comprehend more

than i think you do.

“you know, you can ask me anything about your mommy, and you can talk about her anytime, right?”

“yeah. daddy. i know.”

and as i worried

about how i’d fucked up

your day by crying

you said,

“daddy. oliver is not on my imagination team anymore.”

and i just laughed.

“it’s not funny, daddy!”

you yelled back at me.

and no, it’s not,

but it was.

and i’m sorry i didn’t

ask why he was

no longer on your team,

or what the fuck

an imagination team

actually is.

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