A Poem for Papa (教皇的一首诗)


Four years ago
you left for work.
It was a humid early summer day
in the spring New York City swelter.

Leaning nonchalantly in the doorway,
you said, “Later,”
like nothing doing,
and turned for the stairs.

No kiss goodbye, not even a glance
in my direction.
I leaned out after you, and called down the
creaking stairwell
to tell you
not to bother returning.

You did not.

This was smart, for me.
Maybe the wisest words ever
hastily spoken.

Since you had no problem with
helping me spend me my money or
using my body in bed,
losing you was a gift,
in retrospect.

Three years ago
I gave birth to your son.
Alone, in the dead cement of NYC winter,
I welcomed a new human being into this
Only two Franciscan nuns sat in the
otherwise empty hospital room
as i suckled at my breast
the child you have not even
sent one birthday gift to.

No flowers from Daddy arrived,
not even a card or cheap chocolates…
only a pathetic
and rude text message, something
about a paternity test.
Called me “Baby Momma”,

I remember the sound the phone made as it
hit the cold tile floor.
Its screen shattered.
The baby began to cry.
So did I.

Your son met you, once
and was in my arms when
you, once again and years later,
brought me to tears.
He talks about it
to this day.

“Daddy mean at Mommy. Mama cried.
Daddy mean.
Are you happy,mama?
Be happy, Mama!”

They remember everything, the
little ones. Like
elephants in miniature,
they never forget. For you, my
ex-lover, this
is a lifelong liability.

Your son speaks of you
rarely now,
except to mention in passing
that your favorite color is yellow.

Two words: good bye —
from me to you,
were the wisest words
i have ever spoken.
I will say them now and
i will say them again.

Like a leaf, fallen haplessly
from the massive oak
over our little home,
your memory
lies, dried out and faded
in the driveway of my mind.



Welcome to the world, little one. Three days old, William James.

i love you i love you i love you my son.

just born

The view from my hospital bed at St Luke’s Roosevelt at dawn. WIlliam was 2 hours old. 2.09.09.

And I would do it all again.

good bye, baby daddy. where my face was, there is ether.

the closest i will ever get to you again. Only to say goodbye…to your countenance on a piece of canvas.

Janice J. Cunningham 7.04.12. Cleveland, Ohio


Filed under children, diary, life, sadness

4 responses to “A Poem for Papa (教皇的一首诗)

  1. Ellen Fagan

    There is often pain – & utter beauty – in just telling the unvarnished truth. You have done that here. xoxo


  2. beautiful post- I nominated you for the lovely blog award congratulations and nice site! You can see the rules here;http://brendafraser.wordpress.com/2012/07/04/one-lovely-blog-award-thank-you/


  3. Thank you both for your gracious appreciation. Sincerely.


  4. Gene

    Very powerful. Simple phrases – deep feelings – what joy in self-supporting your decision!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.