good son / good fathers
there is a father around every corner
holding snake neck or bottle-rocket waist.
my fathers are persistent
in the ways they seek alarm.
harvest each flinch for
some kind of future alchmey.
maybe building the panic machine.
scurry on hands & knees
to the basement apparatus. down there
they try to dig happiness out of dirt.
clawing with bare fingers
they run into the shale layer
& give up, just laying there. eyes like
moonstone rings. fingers like teeth.
i set traps for my fathers:
bear trap & trap door & snares
& dead falls. too many fathers
to round up all together
but picking off one or two can be helpful.
i collect their beer bottles from
windowsills & sometimes discover
a shout or a prickly desire
seated at the bottom of the brown glass.
once a bottle asked me "are you
my mother?" i wanted to shatter it
but instead i took the bottle
to the emotional recycling plant
where that longing could be
reassigned to someone else.
that's all they do. my fathers
crouch & pull & pull until
their fragiles bursts free,
scrambling for air. i too was
nothing more than a gasp to them.
a sharp question sliced
between carpet & ceiling.
i buy the fathers whatever they want:
doritos & all kinds of other potato chips
& bacon cheeseburgers & licorice.
it's all kind of my fault.
i spoil them. can yu blame me though?
there is a certain gravity
only caused by the thought
"my father might finally see me."
i've been imagining that moment
since i can remember. one father,
it doesn't matter which, will stand
& stroke my head. call me
"good son. good son" & then slink off
to continue his compulsions.
as for me, i'll turn a corner
just to be frightened by the different father
but this time i'll laugh with him
& he too will clap my on the back,
smiling with his fingers before
returning to his work. until then
i'll proceed with my
beautiful cautions &
dream of houses with no corners.
just one smooth round room
to spin in.