My Father Told Me

by Steve Klepetar

“No more voices, no more dreams.”
He carved this motto
on his subterranean bed, volcanos
opening out to this blood-maddened
world. I left him sweet cakes
with honey and seeds. I left him
a pair of eyes, gray, but spotted
with blue, I left him teeth
and a lamb shank, a brown egg
boiled with water
drawn from a wishing well.
I left him a sprig of parsley
and a stick of horseradish to burn
his ancient tongue, to sting
and stir his anger, to prod
his withered body back into a swirl
of streets and swinging arms.
Once again he left my mother
staring in shop windows, half
a block behind, hands held behind
his back as if he knew the firing
squad was only waiting for him
to finish his cigar before they spoiled
the air and sent the lake fish rushing home.


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