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What If My Father Not My Father

with his metal legs of the walker and
skin hanging like ears, his breasts like
ears, what if he had his body back the body
he knew in his youth shooting hoops what if
he had the body that made me in the back of
the Volkswagen bus in a parking lot in Oregon
or Washington where he wrote angry letters
to his father soon dead of the gunshot wound
that would render his head unrecognizable
as father, what if he too, unrecognizable but
by bullet not madness or illness, felt rage what if
this father’s rage, spittle in the corners of his mouth
as he lashes his wife his son his daughter with his mouth
what if his mouth were not the only part of his body
still somewhat in his power what if his power lay
in his hands as they seized the spinning wheel
of the wheelchair waiting in the closet what if
they threw the chair into the ocean and rent the sky
with all the power of this his motorized body what if
he found there was power yet power still power in
how much his family still loves him despite it all.

  1. Marilyn Wolf on

    This is ornate and powerful read aloud!

  2. Christian Skoorsmith on

    Powerful. I felt the journey over the course of the poem, and the lack of punctuation added to the polyphony of the reading, as if like one long sentence the varied/complex/complicated/nuanced/flooding feeling comes almost all at once. And the redemption held out at the end…. Well done.

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