This made my dad cry

Updated: Jul 14

(Above: Minoan wallpainting of dolphins from the Queens bathroom at Knossos)

The Dolphin

by, Yulia Rafailova


When I was eight

I spent about four hours 

That felt like a year

Drawing a dolphin

Not on paper

But on my wall

In the room that I shared with my sister

And the computer

I thought it'd just take me a minute

Then I would erase it

Because my parents would panic

And lecture me about the rent deposit

And that food stamps aren't like real money

But I was eight and 

It was right before the internet

Or maybe right before those little AOL disks started coming in the mail

We had Encarta Encyclopedia on CD ROM

A deep dark green disc

With fancy gold letters

Filled with animals I never saw anywhere else

The dolphins looked so simple to draw

Just one long squiggly line all the way around

Oooo you're gonna get in trouble!

My big sister whispered strongly

But then grinned so big because she knew I didn't care

And she went so far as to dare me

And I didn't even care about that

I just wanted to see if I could

I already knew that I would do it

It must have been about four hours, maybe more

The first couple on my own

Then a long moment of terror when my father walked in

Oh yeah, it's Sunday, SHIT! Dad's home!

But when he walked in

And before he grinned his big grin

He frowned at my wall

Took my pencil from my hand

Started to erase part of my squiggly line

And somehow, he was able to get the dorsal fin just right

And after that I don't really remember what came next

Except joy

The best kind

The kind that sticks with you for a while

The kind that makes you love to draw

Especially dolphins

Thousands and thousands of dolphins

*Originally published in the Best of the Poetry Salon Anthology, 2018