Draft 4: Dog Walking

Let’s be clear: I am no father,
But I can’t deny I play the part.
I gave this girl a human name and call to her
falsetto: “Come to daddy.”
And, god help me, I’ve bought her tiny sweaters.
I’ve knelt for her in the dark
in the rain in the parking lot
behind abandoned restaurants.

She diverts my instincts to her needs,
this ersatz child, this changeling, who will never
care for me in frailty, nor carry on my family name.

But no mere parasite, she shares the prey
she captures with her infant paws:
the disarmed smiles of passers-by
which I imagine are for me.

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