Poem for My Father
by Katy E. Ellis, Jr.

My father is a forest trail well worn
to the waterfall but not beyond.
He'll never take me to the source
or through the family undergrowth.

I'm not the path in the forest
because I've stumbled off.
I'm the rocks in the surf
strong but nearly drowning
in pounding shame, silt guilt.

My father is the cellar potato.
Unseeing eyes like sores
cover his useless body--
in darkness blind he reaches
his dumb sprouts to any light.

I'm not the potato
because I've only got two eyes.
I'm the artichoke
giving from all the prickliness
only a small heart.

My father is lapis embedded
like a pool of unbroken blue sky
in the crowns of long dead pharaohs
whose skulls echo brainless,
brainless hunger for afterlife.

I'm not lapis
because I hunger for clouds.
I'm the peacock rock
dragging rainbow feathers
like a leaden evening gown.

My father is a sheep,
part of the flock bleating
hymns and prayers in unison,
predestined to the pastures
of sweet, heavenly clover.

I'm not the sheep
because I want to take their skin
and prove to them I'm wolf
and hungry enough to devour
their soft promises.

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