Ventriloquist

I am my Father’s dummy
perched on his lap
a paper maché puppet
top hat, painted face
unblinking eyes
a mouth only he can open
choosing my words
carefully
to be sure
I am just
like him

No sugar
no wine
no caffeine
up at six
tired or not
the early bird
run a mile
no gain without pain
each day
stopwatch ticking
sweat streaming

No Nordstrom’s
or Bloomingdales
a penny saved
only thrift stores
discount stores
second hand stores
I parrot his rules
and march through
life just like him

sometimes I see
children laughing
tickling spinning whirling
racing rushing
balloons of pink skirts
like parachutes
caramel ice cream
cotton candy
cupcakes with
colored sprinkles

and I wonder

But now he is dead
the dummy limp on his lap
top hat askew
red grin grinning
black eyes staring

But the worst is
I have no voice
not a bleat or a mewl
when my Father died
he took it with him
after all it belonged to him