Will Blood Tell?

I can count the stories told about my father
on just one hand
and none of them have happy endings.
He broke my mother’s heart, her trust,
yet his blood runs in my veins.

I know the ways I am most like my mom
but what do I get from this man
I do not know?

As a child, every night after dinner,
my grandfather and I would play Go Fish
at the big dining room table.
I liked to straighten the cards into neat little piles
on Nana’s white lace tablecloth
while Papa chewed on a toothpick and
contemplated his next move.

The day he caught me cheating
he put the cards away
without saying a word.

All night long
he wouldn’t speak to me
and the shame I felt sat in my stomach
like a lead cannonball
until I cried myself to sleep.

For days afterward I wondered
what it meant that I would
jeopardize my grandfather’s trust
to cheat at a silly game of cards.

Even now, I find it hard to see the best in me
so when they say
blood will tell
the truth of evil
which cannot be concealed
I am frightened
of the sleeping monster I imagine that waits within me
the monster that makes me wonder
if I am more like my father
than I might want to know?

@copyright Susan Taylor Brown 2010
All Rights Reserved