/ / Issue 13, Uncategorized

My father taught me feet are something to care for, cradle.
He never talks about anything else. I remind people

my Dad’s age too much of hot, sticky, high green foliage
flapping in their faces, or steam rising up from

the rice paddies the platoons waded through
all morning, crossing in the open, barrels loaded, sighted,

ready for a fight. Yellow. Roses. That is what they sent home
to their wives to dry in glass vases. My face is a big yellow moon

rising in their nightmares, my face a howling monkey,
a ripe watermelon rind, grinning back at them.

Or perhaps it’s my hair that troubles them: black braid
bouncing up and down with the rocking, with the movements

of the swing. Whose hand can make its own shape on my skin?
My skin will turn to crisp brown under any sun. My eyes

will holster any loaded rifle. My father is an ant moving
through the tall grass, boots filling with mud and muck. He

never talks about anything else. He’s the slap of the wind
hitting my face. His yellow balloon silence is what fills

the room, but I’m the hot air taking up the space
in-between his ribcage. Did he ever pull any trigger?

Sear metal into someone else’s flesh? Will someone ever
ask what freedom means to me? I know how to sip

strong tea, place the cup back on the saucer, blood
dripping down its sides pooling onto the painted saucer.