Small Feats of Heroism My Father Has Performed

Audrey Burges
3 min readJun 13, 2019

A list in honor of Father’s Day

Happy Father’s Day, Daddy.

Letting me curl around his hand like a snail on a branch, for hours at a time, when I was colicky.

Plucking me one-handed from a pool I fell into fully clothed, moments after telling me “don’t get so close to that pool.”

Killing Santa softly, then expanding the revelation to the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy (and telling my mother later, “Santa went quietly, and he didn’t go alone.”).

Shaking his head and saying, “That’s not how this works” when I announced that I was grounding myself (for clogging a drain with dirt, then the butter knife I tried to use to clear said dirt, then the tongs I tried to use to retrieve the butter knife, then dish soap to “clean the dirt”).

Showing me how to fish, and how to kill a fish.

Holding my hand when I cried after killing a fish.

Teaching me the facts of life by giving me a book to read, then following the book with an open-ended “ask me anything” session.

Not laughing when I asked, “Does the man know he’s doing it?”

Weaving poetry and prose through my life and making me love words, even before I knew all that words could do, just because they came from him.



Audrey Burges

Author, THE MINISCULE MANSION OF MYRA MALONE (Berkley 2023); work in McSweeney’s, Belladonna, Slackjaw, & elsewhere. Twitter: @audrey_burges;