Dad disappeared himself one autumn night,
no warning like his first attempt to disappear –
again we sought a note – so impolite,
unlike him despite decades of despair.

For three days cops searched while we hoped
he’d hitched his way back West. We knew better,
though, daughters growing up in the shadow
of his anguish – “Your mom, don’t upset her.

Be good, or I’ll have to leave.” We tried
to meet the thunder of their needs, and flailed.
How wounded we can be, still somehow tied
to parents, lovers, friends who slip, then bail?

After all, he left. His pocket held page
after page scrawled with “love,” but we read “rage.”