Excerpt from the new chapbook #WhiteBoo


#16

 

I wake up and think of that black and white photo

Of you with your dad that hung in our hallway

You’re tiny and looking into the camera; he’s balding

and bending over you with a belly that peeks out

 

from underneath his smallish polo shirt. Yours is a

straight bob, bangs that frame a smile, toothy and

generous. Dust here alongside the where. Hope and faith.

Your little face implores the camera to believe. The joy

 

from the previous decade blunts this part of the story. Your

dad pulls your mom’s wig off her chronic disease; flushes it

down the toilet because he was a rageaholic. We can say

it plainly because what other reality was there? Then he

 

left and came back and left again. You grew up; he blinked

back sobriety. And your mom returned to school; found an

embarrassing boyfriend named Don in A.A. The solitary cathexis,

the atavistic ability to turn the youngest daughter into a feral

 

cat. And now I have love again and am making it work since

that’s what you called survival and I only know this because the

scars on my face make me look distinguished though I wince

when I remember how I got them in the first place.

 

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