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POEM: Entrances & Exits

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Entrances & Exits

Jason Lee Borders entered the world
on a late-summer afternoon in 1973,
sharing his father’s middle and last names
and containing a small flaw in his DNA
that he also shared with his father,
who, unlike Jason Lee Borders,
wasn’t strong enough to resist the genetic revolver.
Instead, he held it to his temple and pulled the trigger,
and a wash of alcohol broke through the levy
and swept the borders away.
Before the little boy drowned,
his mother crept through the window
and ran with him into the night,
gene still intact, waiting.

Jason Lee Gustavson entered the world
in a courtroom in 1979
after the requisite paperwork had been filed;
a new identity, a new life,
another in a long string
of relocations and reorientations.
By this time, even at his tender age,
he’d made one of the few choices
to which he’d remain true,
deciding early on
to leave his father’s revolver tucked in its padded box
in an unlocked drawer of the old oak dresser.
As it turned out, though,
his father wasn’t the only parent with a gift,
and generations of overflowing bathtubs
in the brains of his maternal ancestors
were slowly leaking through his own skull,
surrounding his spongy gray being
with a dark fluid that obscured light and memory.

Jason David Crane entered the world
at a kitchen table with his grandparents
in 1994 after a late-night session of salsa music.
They’d gone through all the family names
when his grandfather suggested the family
for whom an aunt had washed the laundry.
As a gesture to the father
whose name he was leaving behind,
Lee became David
and he became a man.

entered the world and left the world and
entered the world and left the world and
entered the world. His bathtub overflowed
and he sank beneath the water,
one hand clutching the smooth porcelain side.

Published in Audio Poems Family My poems Poetry


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