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. 

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