How to be a son
My father was for the longest time
a plastic smile locked under the bed.
Before that, he was whatever came
out of my mother’s mouth. He was I’ll tell you
when you’re older. He was winding smoke,
a secret name. That fucking Turk.
He was foreign word, distant country.
I gave myself up to her hands which also
fathered; they shaped me into flinch.
Into hesitant crouch, expectant bruise.
Into locked door, CIA black site—
my body unknown and denied to any
but the basest men. I said beat my father
into me please, but he couldn’t be found.
And when he was, I wished he remained
lost. He blamed himself for the men I want.
A father can negate any need he thinks
they are the sum of all desires he thinks
absence has a gender. Listen.
You can’t backdate love, it destroys
history, which is all that I have & so
like any man, want to abandon.
In the absence of time I will invent
roses, a lineage beyond geography,
then all manner of gorgeous people
who rove in desert and olive grove,
in wet kingdoms, on the hunt for villages
where a boy can love a boy & still be