Poems for Papa on Father’s Day

by Kitt Lapeña

by Kitt Lapeña

thunder and lightning and papa


i was as proud as a little girl could be

at six

with my very own room

and my very own bed

and my very own closets

and a door i could close

to be alone

until the big storm

when thunder roared

and the lightning

turned the shadow of

our neighbor’s caimito tree

into grotesque arms

swaying and reaching

in the blue-white glow

of the stormy night

and the wind

lashed at the windows

and left an open one


and banging

and banging

i lay awake

crouched under my blankets

trying to shut my eyes

not to see

the monster arms

reaching for me

but they did

and i forgot

how nice it was

to have my very own room

and my very own bed

and my very own closets

and a door i could close

and i screamed

until papa came

and papa stilled

the thunder and lightning

so i could sleep.



7 July 1993

4:10 a.m.


…and papa was there


it was a dark and stormy night

and papa was there

to put me to sleep


i had always wanted to be a girl scout

and everyone’s mommy and daddy

was at the induction

to pin the tiny girl scout pin

and tie the white kerchiefs on

i thought no one would come

and just when they called my name

papa was there


mama brought me to my grade school graduation

but didn’t stay

and somewhere in the middle of it all

as i strained to see the tiny faces in the crowd

papa was there

with his camera and his big almost-smile


and when my tummy hurt

really bad in school and

i had to get an appendectomy

before the anaesthetic got to work

papa was there holding my hand

and his eyes and shining eyeglasses

were the last thing i saw

floating next to the iv bottle


and when i walked down the aisle

papa was there holding me

like a little girl again

and smiling and crying

as i was


and when bianca came into the world

i thought i saw papa at the window

in a green surgical smock and cap

and when i woke up

there was a bag of sweets and cakes

and papa


and when i die

wherever i go i’m quite sure

the first thing i see will be papa.



7 July 1993

4:55 a.m.


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