Glass Poetry Press

Volume Four Issue Two

Christopher Lee Miles

Learning Farther from Father

That was before the children arrived, when I took your body home with me, smoothed its burrs with sandpaper. When I daubed the towels in melted butter, rubbed them on your skin beneath the kerosene lamp in the study. With the belly of a rasp, I sheared off the too sharp edges of your mouth. I was in control, steadying your ligaments, feeding you cream to fatten your flanks. I wanted you thick and slow as a drugged elephant, to slip into the slots I saw between the roof and sky when we made love in the treetops. But that was before the children with arms wrapped around empty buckets, redpurple bags beneath their eyes, quarter-moons of dirt beneath their nails — and I could not ignore the snapping cables of your collapsing body, or the children sweeping dead wasps into their mouths. I had to learn to fear, to let all the cockeyed abutments ride, all the skewed surfaces remain unpressed and off kilter, to let the children go off velvetted in dirt, and you, I had to let your hips go gruff to retrieve their green.