Rejection Letters

Black Velvet & Coke

Two people, one birthday,
Me and my father.
Real dads are a myth.
Birthdays will never
Be memorable.
You left a nine-year-old
Little girl; she found you
I found you, remember?
I remember Black Velvet and
Coke sickly sweet.
The clink of ice against glass,
Liquid slosh, how easily you
Slid a drink in front of
Me, your-daughter.
Drink? More dare than question.
Promise/lie, we’ll talk,
I’ll talk, wet lip thirst;
One drink, two, three,
After each a paused drunken slur.
He won’t stop making excuses,
He drinks, I drink, drink for drink.
I talk, he slumps, bleary eyed.
He tells me one truth;
How damn much I look like
My mother and ask after
His son, my brother.
As if his daughter wasn’t sitting
Drinking in front of him.
I want to puke. Cheap whiskey,
No different than father-daughter
Birthdays, sickly sweet.
I was nine, ten, then too old to
Give a damn, waiting
For you to come back
Save me.


Sage Ravenwood is a deaf Cherokee woman residing in upstate NY with her two rescue dogs, Bjarki and Yazhi, and her one-eyed cat Max. She is an outspoken advocate against animal cruelty and domestic violence. Her work can be found in Glass Poetry – Poets Resist, The Temz Review, Contrary, 433 Magazine, perhappened, and Sundress Press anthology – The Familiar Wild: On Dogs and Poetry.


image: Alan Tenhoeve

%d bloggers like this: