Ode working twice as hard for fathers and Jonnie Walker
I drank that blue a while back, but I give you
some black, give you some gold, while my mother,
bored, says show me some poems. So I show her
some poems, hand you the bottle. Thank you,
son. You keep calling me a word
that I don’t think is yours. Even though
you married into blood, blood
we ain’t, and that word sounds too foreign
from any man talking to me. You talking
’bout weather? Complaining about rain,
saying the sun don’t like me today.
Because you didn’t raise him, my mother once said. It hurts
being so brand new.
Some nights my father calls her, nostalgic & drunk.
You say That nigga wants his family back
and we laugh it off. Though you’re fast asleep
beside her when my father asks, heavy with longing, Why
doesn’t he call me back? After so many years
there are two men who want to fill the same space.
There’s no room tonight, but here you are
drunk on scotch and talking ’bout how some nights
you’re on fire and you wake up howling.
You need Jesus, my mother says. You look at her
thinking of the baby she lost and how you cried.
Wanting to relieve your pain, she told you it’s better this way,
’cause if you still wasn’t working, I’d have to choose
who to keep, and you’d be gone. You wanted to argue,
but she’s done it before. She’s laughing now, reading
lines from a poem: You want a man strong as gin —
what you think that means, Unc? She asks, already
knowing the answer. Shit, I don’t know? You say,
well on your way and wondering if you’re failing
a test. I’d chime in but I’m busy thinking
’bout the red I still had — should’ve given you
that. And took that gold back.about the author