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AFTER THE RELEASE

 

he sagged atop her, slowly slithered out. Melted alive.
And beneath him, my mother reveled in brilliance.
Her own response: raindrops slapping hard

against the bedroom window. Alone only a short time,
they rocked the bed frame into the wall. Chipped green flecks
along the metal. Where it stayed. Was I even an afterthought,

tiny miracle hurtling towards the uterus, dividing cells
moment by moment, there in an instant. This is the large man
I should call father because they made me, even as he got up

and dressed, returned to the living room to a pitcher
of martinis, leaving his cloudy presence and his accidental
creation. And the next afternoon. I never met him.

Visiting Muncie, the old college pal and family from nearly
a decade earlier, left town after a couple of days. Never returned.
Especially when my parents awkwardly announced my arrival.

Oh baby, sweet baby, the man counted backwards to stormy days.
In a panic, the man nervously deserted me forever. And the one
whose name I bear? He never told me of deception,

that I belonged to another. Just stroked my girlhood flesh
in his arms, his little blessing. Proof of who my daddy
was. Years after his death, my desperate childhood

reeling towards the big man who also was dead by then.
Left behind my half-brother and half-sister, and I ached
to drop into their limited Peoria lives. Demand look at me,

I’m the image of your father and what’s a normal life?
There’s so much I long to know. Did they call him daddy
or dad? Did he spoil them with some kind of love? I want

to hear he was just an ordinary joe, you know, the kind
who loved his children most of all.
Never difficult, the kind
of guy who lived an ordinary life, ordinary death.

My mother was finally abandoned by my father, nothing to do
with my conception. Think of the storm that slicked two bodies.
I arrived from afternoons of violence, of longing, of rapture.



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