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First Line: My father is a coward, and I have grown
Subject(s): Alienation (social Psychology); Cowardice; Fathers & Sons; Love; Estrangement; Outcasts

My father is a coward, and I have grown
to love the man who took my hand, afraid
of leaving my side or asking the head nurse

for a blanket even while I lay shivering
on a gurney with an IV in my arm.
Helpless and restrained, I saw a father

who made no move to stop an incensed mother
from feeding their colicky baby -- sick
of raising a bottle to my mouth, she

dropped me into the cradle from a height
of four feet. After twenty years, he told me
how he called the cops who could do nothing,

all on record in a box somewhere. I love
men who still wear uniforms sewn with care
by women expert with needle and thread.

Where is she who mended mountains of clothes
that do not fit me now? Who is that man
who weeps unheard inside my body? I love men

who do not raise their voices in a crowd
even when they are moving in the wrong
direction -- men who were never loved, I love.

Used with the permission of Copper Canyon Press, P.O. Box 271, Port Townsend, WA
98368-0271, www.cc.press.org

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