How To Perform Open Heart Surgery on Your Father
by Joy Carter

Press your ear to his chest, just to see if he has a heart at all,
lose yourself in that echo
you swear you can hear the ocean leaking
between the bars of his rib cage.
Pull out his pocket knife and dig deep.
Opening him up to find pencil shavings
and spare change.
You can’t fix what technically isn’t broken.
Seal him up with gorilla glue
bandaged tight with duct tape
after pressing a prescription in his palm
Telling him to
rub dirt in the wound twice daily
be a man about it.
Then wash your hands of
old car oil,
and walk home.

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