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Category: Family

POEM: grandpa’s hands

grandpa’s hands

I have your feathery hair
“grandpa’s hands,” I thought, looking at mine
but we’re not related, are we?
that was one hell of a secret to take to the grave
we told you we were naming our first son after you
you said, “Don’t saddle him with that name”
I assumed you meant it was outdated
now I wonder
it doesn’t change the time we had together
or how much I miss you
but others had already chopped down
most of my family tree
now the little that was left
is engulfed by fog

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30 April 2021
Farmington NY
for Bernie Flanders

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POEM: like father, like son

like father, like son

you’re into drifting and so am I
though I mean it like Kung Fu
& you mean it like Tokyo Drift

you’ve got my sense of humor &
probably too much of my personality
for your own good

you’re braver than I’ve ever been
& fearless in just the right way
willing to put your whole body

into whatever you’re pursuing
where I was always more
of an indoor kid

most importantly to me:
the same things make you angry
that make me angry

meaning you stand up for others
whether you know them or not
& that’s all I could ever ask for

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21 April 2021
State College PA
for John Crane

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POEM: no child

no child

no child deserves to be punched
or to have love taken away on a whim
no child should live in fear
or find themselves suddenly on the street
no child earns self-loathing
or a lifetime of questioned relationships
no child needs to become an adult
under the weight of a childhood like this
no child needs to forgive, to forget
or to remain in contact like bondage
I am no child
I am no child
I am no child

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14 April 2021
State College PA
for my parents

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POEM: I remember there was a bat involved

I remember there was a bat involved

actually you remember there was a bat
& I remember it because you’ve told me
my childhood is a deep dark well
but you’ve sent the bucket down
to bring back a treasure or two
I’m shedding my old ideas of family
because blood isn’t a strong enough tie
but even if we weren’t related I’d choose you
& not just because you remember the bat

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13 April 2021
State College PA
for Lynne Harting

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POEM: fatherhood

fatherhood

why didn’t you come looking for me?
sure we moved around but a little effort
would have made all the difference

thirty years later we met in your trailer
ten years after that I stood at your mother’s grave
this has been a time of shedding my past

I have three living parents
I don’t speak to any of them
you cant sail with the anchor down

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11 April 2021
Newnan GA
for Art Borders

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POEM: While I was doing the dishes

While I was doing the dishes

you leaned down to kiss the top of my head
it used to be the other way around
but the tables have turned
I won’t say “you’ll always be my little boy”
because that can be a weapon
I’m not who I was and you won’t be either
so instead I’ll say “I’ll always be your dad”
that can mean whatever you need it to
& whenever you need me I’ll be there

/ / /

3 April 2021
Jonesville NC
for Bernie Crane

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