It is true. I hated my father’s
reptilian toenails, thick,
ridged, battered, as if remnants
Of an armor plating that had failed
To protect him from the world,
And below that barreled belly,
those thin measled shins,
Spotted with their mysterious
Purple bruises, and his deep snoring
As annoying as the buzzing of a large fly
trapped in a tight room
That was my childhood
Recurring nightmare. I still remember
The day I looked down at him
Seeing for the first time
A small man.
It is true. I hated my father’s
Jesus lay between my breasts on my 18ct cross. My future husband fell in love with Jesus before he fell in love with me, but I married him, anyway.
I always wanted to marry a man like my father. Someone who would protect me when screen doors unhinged from their wooden frame and flew across our farm. A man who ran toward flames in January and February and returned home with singed hair and face covered in soot. A man who sat still, silent, letting my voice take center stage when I needed to be heard.Read more "Crosses"
My husband watches Ozark on Netflix.
I walk away to my laptop, tell him,
I don’t like any of the characters
and I don’t like the plot.
He can see how that could be true,
but he watches anyway.
The show’s been nominated.
Conventional COVID-19 wisdom says
the smart thing to do is stay home and avoid people.
We wait for a cure as hours of scripted
dramas flicker before our eyes.
Searching your trench coat,
I looked for truths, found instead
a 1969 penny and a Green Room matchbook—
I resisted the flame.
Pockets, lined with mothed holes
and a stained handkerchief,
not my mother’s shade of red.
What can we ever know, Dad?
This urge to rummage our dead.
it snows. Too early for snow but seasons change.
On the warm ground snow falls all day,
fat white splashes not quite like ashes, but
with a purpose, a quiet, eerie mismatch of
What for, why, how can this be.
There’s a hum. I can’t hear right.
This silence is deafening.
I hate snow.
A chainsaw sits near the door of my childhood home.
The door’s knob wore down and fell off.
The door forgot its name, is listening for it in the wind.
A pair of rubber work boots stand nearby.
They rub together, rattled by a cold breeze, a
synthetic scratch, scratch, daring me to enter.
I love my dog more than my dad
By a distance, not a tad
There I’ve said it, the cardinal sin
Preference for a canine to my next of kin
His big floppy ears, doughy eyes, cold wet nose
Means more to me than my father’s bones
That lay in a grave, I hope at peace
My accidental parent, who came from the East
And whilst my dog showers me with kisses
I remember the drink, the rows, the Christmases
He was never there, never told us he cared
But still I loved this boy soldier, unrecovered man
Though not as much as I love my dog
Sorry dad, I hope you understand
Father, my heart freezes
stiff as those chickens
when that slaughter truck overturned
in the blizzard of ‘78
and as I walked through the empty
snow world I kicked them,
feathers all over the road.
There is mother
in smoke and shame
hiding her face how the dead
know to do. Father,
her dark eyes hair skin all
a howl of rain.
my father and i do not look alike
at first glance, but
we have the same scar on our chins
from falling off our bikes and
leaving a bit of ourselves behind,
red bifurcating again and again in the cement,
so strange to imagine how our skin
closed hastily, unevenly
(easing pain is not the same
as making smooth again).
Like the arc of an asteroid’s predicted landing
none of us are sure what’s yet to come as we ignore
skin’s craving. We stay in this strange apart space where
we cannot shake hands hug dance kiss cannot simply slide
next to one another on couch park bench diner booth as we’ve
always sat, loops for the same belt.
Joan Rivers 1. on your right the dark thing father’s letter to a tramp college strippers’ dinner you’re not invited crackers from the machine get off stage people expect even from an amateur one good thing necklace from classmates a climber fifth avenue jab and punch rarely real corn-flaked motel dirt-blackened tub hard blinding a […]Read more "Joan Rivers"