An interdisciplinary journal about regions, places, and cultures of the US South and their global connections

Like Father

My father's embrace is tighter
Now that he knows
He is not the only man in my life.
He whispers, Remember when, and, I love you,
As he holds my hand hungry
For a discussion of Bible scriptures
Over breakfast. He pours cups of coffee
I can't stop
Spilling.

My father's embrace is firm and warm
Now that he knows. He begs forgiveness
For anything he may have done to make me
Turn to abomination
As he watches my eggs, scrambled
Soft. Yolk runs all over the plate.
A rubber band binds the morning paper.

My father's embrace tightens. Grits
Stiffen. I hug back
Like a little boy, gripping
To prove his handshake.
Daddy squeezes me close,
But I cannot feel his heartbeat
And he cannot hear mine —
There is too much flesh between us,
Two men in love.

Published in Please (Kalamazoo, Michigan: New Issues Poetry & Prose, Western Michigan University, 2009).

Published: 4 March 2010
© 2010 Jericho Brown and Southern Spaces