Singing birds in the morning sun,
or do they quiver at what you’ve done?
Echoes of laughter bounce off walls
just like the therapy balls
that weren’t good enough either.
Love is learnt in pairs
But then surely I am half empty.
Or am I half full, with her brown eyes,
much deeper than cuts and
much brighter than cigarette butts.
Thick skin sentry.
Every new pair he’ll slip through,
in between cracks, which can be filled into.
And she has already outgrown you.
I have always thought that I’d be half empty because I didn’t want to inherit any resemblance of my father. Thinking about it now though, if he were to be anything in my life, he would be the sickness.
Like with sickness, sometimes the less you know the better. I never had a great relationship with my father. I think this answers a lot of questions about my teenage relationships: the over-attachment, the insecurity, only being able to understand love and kindness from guys when it came in the form of degradation.
This poem says that I am complete without my father. I am whole without him because my mother was enough, as a parent, as a friend, and most importantly, as a woman. She did not allow him to be the making of her and only now do I realise how empowering that has been for me.
The absence of my father has meant more room for my mother and has come with a profound understanding that I do not need a man to validate me.
I no longer worry about searching for my other half. I am already full.
Words by Jasmine York
Illustration for ANTHEM by Ellen Forbes