Father Dearest

Imagine a girl
Trapped in a liquor bottle.
This is all she sees-
The inappropriate drinking
Of her alcoholic father
And not old enough
To know any different.
Sometimes she’s let out,
Breathes fresh air,
But it’s jarring
Because she’s now accustomed to
The smell of it.
The smell of sickness permeating the house,
Of sweat mixed with bile mixed with beer
And the perfectly constructed excuses
Falling out of her mother’s mouth
She desperately copies
As if this will somehow save her.
As if they’re not all drowning together.
And in the wash of alcohol,
Behind the effervescence her mother
Has so carefully created
To further block the view,
To keep you from looking too closely,
In it is her sister,
This darling girl
She only wants to protect,
Who she mothers and loves and bathes
While father is passed out drunk
Or really involved in a movie.
And she wants so desperately
To please her parents
And when her dad comes into her room at night
She doesn’t know any better.
She should,
But she doesn’t-
Because remember,
She lives inside a bottle.
A pretty glass bottle full of bubbles
And beautiful lies
And the smell of his sweat
As his hands go where they shouldn’t.
And then she thinks, foolishly,
That the truth will set her free,
That it will break the glass.
She tells her grandparents,
Then her mother,
And mom’s stride is broken,
But only momentarily.
An agreement is reached
That everyone seems quite happy with
And the father goes to rehab or something
Because he was so blacked-out drunk
He doesn’t remember
So it couldn’t have been
On purpose.
And the girl,
For all her honesty,
She hasn’t even cracked the glass.
No one can hear her banging against it
Over the sound of contrived laughter
And congratulations for beating alcoholism
And look at you, making your marriage work.
But we didn’t beat anything,
The girl is crying out,
Because she saw dad’s whiskey
Behind the couch cushion.

And that’s only the beginning.


Tonight, my dad sent me the following.















Note: In the last few messages, my father is referring to my mother’s inability to speak properly due to her illness [ALS] and that my step-dad had to translate for her. One night I drunkenly snuck out with a few friends and afterward she called my father to let him know. This is him trying to dig the guilt-knife in a little deeper.

Happy Birthday to me.


  1. Michele
    Jul 30, 2015

    Ci-Ci, I love and miss you so much. Life is very hard sometimes and very unfair. I wish I could hug you and tell you some encouraging words that your mom would have said to you but I’m not her, and I could never ever compare to her, but I do love you for who you are and nothing more. My wish for you on this special day is for you to move forward and continue on the path you are on. You have been through more than anyone should have to endure in your young years on this earth. You are truly an amazing and inspirational, hardworking and courageous young women who any mother would be proud to call her ,her daughter. I love you to the moon and back and know without a doubt know your mom is looking down with such pride ,love and amazement of the awesome young adult you are. She gave you the foundation of your journey in life and you have doing a wounderful job in carrying it out. Love you always and forever, Michele.

  2. Dana Tumminello
    Jul 30, 2015

    CiCi, I’m so sorry that you had to listen to your father’s hate filled, self loathing tirade. Intellectually I know you know he’s crazy, out of his mind, and someone to be pitied for his choices and willingness to walk away from the good that has been in his life. Emotionally I’m guessing, it’s so much harder to shrug off. Please know….even if you have to say it our our repeatedly and re read others comments….he is so very wrong. You are a beautiful woman who is incredibly talented and gifted with words and sharing some of life’s hardest moments with others. I believe that your poems have helped others and offered encouragement. Life is hard and unfair, and you’ve experienced so much more than most, and I honestly don’t understand why and it breaks my heart. I have no wisdom or magical words for you but encourage you to not give up on yourself or others and remember there are eso many wonderful qualities from your mom and are in you. You are worthy, you are important, you are worth knowing and loving, you are more than the little girl In The bottle. I hope this does not offend you, but I’m praying for,your continued healing and comfort. Love, Mrs T


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