The Fiction of Family

R.T. Castleberry’s writing has appeared in Comstock Review, Green Mountains Review, Santa Fe Literary Review, The Alembic, Pacific Review, RiverSedge and Deep Water Literary Journal, among other journals. He is a co-founder of the Flying Dutchman Writers Troupe, co-editor/publisher of the poetry magazine Curbside Review, an assistant editor for Lily Poetry Review and Ardent. His work has been featured in the anthologies Travois-An Anthology of Texas Poetry, TimeSlice and The Weight of Addition. His chapbook, Arriving At The Riverside, was published by Finishing Line Press in January, 2010. An e-book, Dialogue and Appetite, was published by Right Hand Pointing in May, 2011.


The Fiction of Family

My father let me grow up angry and on the loose,
holding a jackhammer temper, a comic’s timing,
the poor boy’s rage for recognition.
Gone Johnnie Walker AWOL,
he sent me lying to draw his paycheck.
Take a book, he said, take a bus
for VA meds, weekend drinking clothes.
Staggering an East End sidewalk,
drunk over dinner, he threw down a demand:
Do dope, I’ll beat your ass.
Capricorn child, first son,
I played pool table hooky, listened
to bar stool somber stories,
watched his back, worried for
his motormouth death wish.
He followed chest pains, a toxic occupation
to the semi-private ward.
I stood gasping in the hospital garden,
kicking at the dirt, unwilling to enter.
History slays us all—
the devious, the disturbed,
the dangerous imitation.

2 thoughts on “The Fiction of Family

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