Clumsy as a half-growed hog,
shy as a goat and twice as dumb,
you were the candy apple of your daddy’s eye,
which goes to show that daddies
will love anything.
Balanced like a suitcase on his lap,
you’d toss your beef head, set those Shirley
Temple curls a-flutter. He’d goose you
just to hear the squeal. “Ain’t she timid?”
he’d admire. It tickled him to think he’d spawned
a sweet young thing. “Don’t worry, sugar,”
coaxed your daddy, patting his old squeezebox.
“That’s no tommy gun.” You’d bellow then,
two-ton Faye Wraye primed for every panic cue,
the dopiest young stooge to wreck the set.
He’d named you after Tanya on that Lawrence Welk,
a moon-faced dame floating in a spangled gown,
and she could yodel, tap-dance, polka with the boss,
hawk Geritol and Special K, but never once
quit smiling. Yes, your daddy was a sucker
for accordions and romance, though your mama
drove a Farmall, wore a mustache, and outweighed him
by a hundred pounds. Husbands are a riddle.
Daddies, now—they’re easier to puzzle:
men who hoist a slack-jawed changeling
off a sagging couch and haul her up to bed,
girl-baby of their dreams,
no matter if she’s mute or scraggly,
cranky, mean, or mealy-mouthed.When your daddy’s gone, you miss him.