Poetry by Farah Lawal Harris

Happy Birthday, Daddy


over the years,
i’ve had many friends
who grew up without fathers,
seen too many who only knew
the love of their mothers.
in them, i observe a hole that is never filled.

i thank God that i have never known that feeling.

one of my fondest childhood memories
consists of running from the school bus
to hug you who
stood smiling and waiting for me.
even today i am still that little girl,
the one who feels safe in your arms
with my face tickled by your beard.
Daddy,
i thank you for always being there.
in a crazy world,
you are stability.
in my childishness,
you know what i really need.
you inspire me to reach higher–
to run past mediocre
to the finish line of excellence.

i pray for the time when i will reach success
so that i can finally have the chance
to give back a portion
of what you have given me:
long nights with homework,
sincere prayers in the mornings,
large doses of wisdom,
generosity with everything.
your love is priceless–
one that sparkles whenever i call.
your love is a safety net
that always catches me when i fall.
your life is a treasure–
even in this falling economy,
your stock continues to grow
and on this day when you have grown
to becoming a more youthful old,
i honor you.

hallmark cards written by strangers
no longer have the power to say
that which i wish to tell you
on special days such as this.
even my own words seem inadequate
when it comes time to express
how much you mean to me.
so here is my attempt to say it in my own way:

for loving me,
i thank God for your birthday.
for raising me,
i thank God for your birthday.
for taking care of Mommy,
i thank God for your birthday
and because you’re my Daddy,
i thank God for your birthday.

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