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In the Night

ISSUE:  Autumn 2000

My father has my ear. He comes to me
in my sleep, and like coring an apple,

with his ax he has lifted my ear from
the side of my face. Not bad, I think,

for a policeman, who was taught mostly
to wield a gun and a bat. He sits late,

the ear on a plate, on the table there
before him. I join in the ranks of John

the Baptist: my father will take a piece
of my face at a time. You false prophet,

he says into my ear. I brush at my face,
big mosquito, I think, from the hole in

the screen. Really it’s my blood running
down my cheek, my father a Gothic doctor

at work at his sink. How much of my son
can we see in his ear? He whispers, Yes,

my dirty peach, you were our afterthought
after a long night’s work.
I’m on my feet

in my dream. The cliff that I’m driven to
explodes with such startling light that I

don’t hear it when my father’s last bullet
blows off the rest of a face. In the night

my voice joins the chorus that sings No.


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