The Professor’s Daughter
She drew carefully in the margins
of her notes — elaborate vines,
leaves, flowers. She was quiet,
childlike, sad for all things young
and innocent. Her father made a big
deal about us, explained the literary
genres that our movies belonged to,
kissed our hands like a continental
gentleman. I didn’t understand
my friend’s disgust. He was so
sweet! He drinks champagne all day
was all she’d say. Once she was
in the hospital for three days,
swallowed a bottle of sleeping pills,
but it didn’t work. When I felt down,
a shower or a walk were all I needed.
If she had told me the truth
about what her father did to her,
I would not have understood.
My own father drank scotch
and hooted like an owl; nothing
to hold against a man.
- Tamara Madison