PATRICIDE AND BOOT SHINES
One day I will ask my mother about my dad
and she will lie. She will tell me Daddy is in the other room
shining his boots and I will wink my little head and scramble
two twine-legs into the other room to ask Dad why he shines his boots.
I will say dad what for? He will smile and press his large hand
to mat my whirling curls. He will offer me
the faded rag and I will help him shine his boots.
I will shine those boots like I’ve shined boots all my life.
One day my mother will kill my daddy.
She will tell me he is not your father. I will not
understand and I will cry. He won’t be in the room while my
face dampens the waist of her dress
because I know no one will shine daddy’s boots.
My mother will show me a picture.
I will not see myself. I will say, no until the picture will die.
She will put the picture away and knot me in her arms.
I will mourn like I know what death means.
She will take me to a park in Teaneck to meet my father.
My arms will cross over my seatbelt for two hours
and my eyes, like billows, will puff and swell.
I will say, not–my–daddy and I will want to kill him.
My father will wait underneath a tree.
I will unfasten my Velcro-strap shoes. My lips will salt,
my noise will bubble, and I will sprawl my body like a wet bird.
I will scream daddy and the man will smile.