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  • Writer's pictureClare

An Ode to My Father's (Over)protectiveness

Updated: Feb 10, 2021

My phone rings for the fifth time in five consecutive minutes

it’s my dad again; “when will you be back home tonight? It's 10pm already”

I’m back late

he should be asleep – I’m 19, old enough to look after myself –

but he’s got fear (care), the size of a swimming pool gushing through him when I’m away

so I know he’s awake waiting for me to be home

He hands me a bottle filled with warm water,

“A fluid body is a body that rests well, drink up and rest little pea”

When I’m fast asleep he wakes to check if I’m cold

tucks my toes beneath a second blanket;

like he’s placed my feet under curls of warm ocean waves

The next morning we have breakfast together

he chooses to lift a work call and I get mad

when he’s done talking he lets my anger condense upon his palms,

then wipes it away on his pants

he plants a puddle kiss on my forehead with his puppy face,

how can I stay mad…

We go on a drive together

I play John Marr’s “walk into the sea” on the car stereo

he plays a podcast on the health benefits of swimming, out loud

we’ve become used to our songs merging like waves


My dad and I, we are two water bodies, connected

on the good days, he builds our memory reservoir

on the bad days, he brings a water lily for my lake heart

See, I get annoyed with my him sometimes;

these "annoying" things have become innate for him,

like flowing is for river water

but I love him

If I have to start talking about how much I love him,

I’d have to gulp down an ocean and let you meet me at the shores

of all the beaches dad and I spent my childhood in

building sandcastles, dreams and a bond -

river daughter, ocean father,

two always ending up one

When we are apart,

I let the tap run a little longer

I walk by the route that overlooks the river

I hold my palms out when it rains

I… I sleep with a water bottle bedsides me

No matter where I go,

I know he’s swimming in the water with me,

keeping our hearts intertwined,

keeping me afloat

Vaishnavi is a second year, BSc Management student at LSE, irrevocably drawn towards poetry. "My poetry, by far, is a collection of stories drawn from various experiences in my life. Sometimes my poems are cookie crumbles of myself, sometimes a large slice of cake and sometimes a whole dessert that’s devoured into."

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