Skip to main content

Ars Poetica, 1979

ISSUE:  Summer 2021


Digging in dregs of trash
to find the bird my father needed
to get well, I tore a vanishing 
line across the length of my palm.
My hand emerged slowly,
crown of pulp, pulsing. My
excommunicated ex-Navy father:
Come here, boy (he called me 
boy though I was a girl because
he wanted a boy and I was a girl). He 
pressed his blackened finger
into the head of the valley. Then
dispensed some trauma he’d picked
up in Vietnam about dead bodies not
being able to bleed and pain 
being the only true way to know you
alive. How pleasure persuades
belief in a heaven that doesn’t
exist for people like us and how he could
prove God was fiction and Satan
the realest motherfucka ever 
made: Look around. He lifted 
his index, the one staunching 
the flow, to his lip. Sampled my blood.  
I let out something—
more moan than cry—too
shocked for much else when he 
grabbed the back of my neck, pulled 
me close to teach his only lesson worth
remembering: Cry, Boy,
look that honest wound in the eye
and you betta let this bitch-ass
world see what she did to you. 



This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

Recommended Reading