Journal of Writing & Environment

From the tree


My father is of average stature, as men go,

and strong, as men are, and hirsute

in his ears as the years wear on, and on

his back, the skin on his hands cracked

from long hours of ungloved carpentry

and metalwork, of nosing around in the beehive

for wooden frames fat with honey,

but with certain effeminacies about him,

like his hypersensitive hearing I inherited

and his size-nine, virgin-white feet.

With peasant soles my mother plods

across the summer asphalt as he tiptoes

daintily in the mottled shade. He gave her

two daughters, and “thank god,”

she laughs. “If I’d had a son with that man,

he would’ve been a gay poet,

and they would’ve hated each other.”

It’s because they don’t know me I can

ask: How do I put this? Here I am.