this was the best new year's i've had in awhile. for once, i wasn't at home on the couch with my parents.

i was on the phone with the best person i could possibly think of to be talking to then (besides my family of friends, who were mostly within arm's reach -- and kina grannis : ] )

happy new year, everybody. : )

An eagle’s view of my nose
is my father’s nose, a golf-
club of pinky flesh. In clapboard
classrooms I twist my brain around
Langston Hughes, Adrienne Rich,
Yusef Komunyakaa – this is my father,
I’m certain. My mother sighs yes,
knits her eyebrows together when I ask
her to read my poetry. When I see black
people on a backalley street and my heart
beats faster this is my father, too,
I’m certain, who changes the channel
on the tv at home when Whoopi
Goldberg’s face fills up the screen,
my father who cancelled the Spanish
language channels because he can’t stand
the sound of foreign tongues in his American
home – like Latin, like masses he knows
the same as the gradation of grey
in his long unkempt beard – and sleeping
with the sheets half off my bed,
that’s my father, too, who arthritises his
60-80-year-old body brittled by
cancers fluid in the white marrow
into a dark green sleeping bag
he’s had since he was 22, that slept
around him on mountaintops in California
and Iowa and Maine, in snow and pooling
ice and aching sun, and shepards his
body from my mother’s like they
are strangers next to each other on a
park bench. This is mine and my father’s too,
how we can love so deeply but separate
ourselves so fully from others:
when I close the door to my bedroom
and try to silence the dullness inside
my body that says reach out, this hurts
and listen to the chattering of my friends
in the other room; when I sit on the bed
next to lovers who are looking
into my eyes with concern that says
please tell me what you need
and I say I’m fine; when my
father sobbed into his knuckles,
heaving up grey chunks of phlegm
after he ran over our dog in the
driveway when I was not quite 18
and I blazed through the living room upset
but praying he wouldn't see, wouldn't see.

1 He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse. (Malachi 4:6)



February 2012

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