Father

I buried him
in my blood
and there he runs,
tumbling
through my heart
and brain.

Each day is a memory
of his forgetting
the inconvenient,
railing at the dead,
driving dogs to slink
from his hand.

Prophetic utterances rise
as blisters on my fingertips,
his rage a swirling vertigo
behind my eyes.

I know him chapter
and verse, the King James
of every small town
pentecostal church
within two hundred miles,
a Jeremiad scribbled
in a thousand spiral
notebooks, a curse
against all
who disbelieved him.

Time and space
bent to his view,
curved around
his planetary ego.

He courses through me,
flowering in mistrust
of all I know and see,
yet I scribble crooked lines
when I would keep silent
and let the visions pass.

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5 thoughts on “Father

  1. Very fine. I am certain this will resonate with many sons whose father’s anger still courses through their blood enough to leave “flowers of mistrust.”
    Wonderful lines here “I know him chapter and verse…a Jeremiad scribbled in a thousand notebooks.” (Was capitalizing “jeremiad” intentional?) I often think my inner critic is my father’s ghost wrestling with me — in this corner we have the Doubter from Davenport facing the Curious from Casablanca. Keep scribbling those “crooked lines.”

  2. Wow – such an honest write – the images are just so potent – the sad part is they teach us to mistrust because of their own sense of powerlessness … and it is so hard to shake off. I love this image:

    Prophetic utterances rise
    as blisters on my fingertips,
    his rage a swirling vertigo
    behind my eyes.

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