A late summer’s day,

she run circles around her father

who sits stoic at the head of the table.

“Quit stomping around like an elephant, Kate” he says.

Tears well in her eyes, she makes it to another room

before the raindrops fall.


Weeks of silent drives to the doctor’s,

Nights sat-up with him in the hospital,

Hours she held his hand at chemo with a needle in his arm.

When it began to eat his spine and stole his mobility,

she was the one who dressed, fed, bathed him.

The only one.


He had married a woman not strong enough

to watch her husband wither.

But spawned a daughter with a brave face,

stone spine, and silent strength.


In July, he told his youngest girl

If she lost weight, he’d live to watch her graduate.

His elephant child, she’ll never forget.

Her round belly labored his lungs,

her monstrous thighs stopped his heart,

her flabby arms froze his opened eyes,

her failure to drop weight buried him.


She will skip the graduation ceremony,

too afraid she’ll stomp across the stage

and hear snickers from the crowd.


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