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Bob Thurber

for Jessica

Your father the writer, who you promised your mother you would not read, whose works, though obscure, you find dark, purposefully vague, as though he is determined from the onset to confuse even the most faithful reader with ill placed references to prior works, i.e. old rhyming poems you once memorized but have now forgotten, alluding, as your father sometimes will, to comments critics have offered in courtroom testimony, private letters, short memos, and far too many hastily scribbled caustic phrases penned on crumpled napkins meant for him and him alone, serious sagely almost Kafkaesque advice, professionally polite, never meant to offend, all of which he later publishes anyway under a less than assumed pseudonym and then denies having any knowledge of and/or any ability to pronounce, later threatening to sue, crying foul, foul, screaming in your dreams that you, his one and only daughter, are witness to the atrocities, the plot conducted against him, the very theft of you, his first born child, and you alone the soul witness whose duty, whose obligation it is for the sake of aesthetic freedom to right these wrongs not on his behalf, no, hardly for him, nor the work he calls his craft, but because justice demands, simple old fashioned justice necessitates your father the writer call you up, long distance bed to bed, dream to dream, disturbing the quiet predawn promise of an almost perfect morning, waking you from slumber you have worked for and earned, then he startles, alarming you with a voice so familiar you believe for a moment that it is not him but you again, your own voice echoing in the dream that you have had a dozen times since childhood and are having again, now, for the thirteenth time, this, the meaningless thirteenth dream, the hardest memory you will take to your therapist, spilling your guts, weeping, plucking tissues three, four at a time, the absolute hardest memory to deal with because you're convinced such feeling wouldn't lie, certain it may not be the last time for you but maybe, you explain to the woman passing more tissues, the last time your father the writer may use this method to try and reach you, to touch you, to comfort with anything more than words on a page written for a child, a lost child, his own, the heartbreak he won't forget.


Bob Thurber is a contributing editor at Linnean Street. His essays, poems and fiction have appeared in a number of print and online publications including Taint Magazine, The Paumanok Review, Conversely Magazine, The Phone Book and Tatlin's Tower. Recently, his short short A Proper Investigation won first prize in flashquake's Spring 2002 issue, and he was a finalist in Glimmer Train's Very Short Fiction competition. Visit Bob's website.

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