Issue #54


Authors

The Father, the Daughter & the (war) holy Spirit

THE FATHER, THE DAUGHTER & THE (WAR)HOLY SPIRIT

Tegan Beard

bananas make me think of andy warhol and,

for some reason, my father.

lots of things make me think of my father,

although fewer all the time ––

charles dickens, the state of florida,

electric guitar, homemade bread, eighth grade,

the nervous way i pick the skin off my fingers,

forest green, therapy, my own last name,

the fear of intimacy that i say i got from him,

but i guess i never knew him well enough to know

what he was afraid of, let alone

all the things he loved.

(i know he loved me.

i think he was scared of me.)

yes, this loss is bigger than the breadbox

we kept on our counter until i was fourteen,

unimpeachably silver in the radiating afternoon sun.

my father, i guess i’m trying to say, is always

on the back of my tongue, his name a flavor

i can’t shake, like the cloying ooze of banana,

those slivers that splay off when opened,

not quite peel, not quite fruit.

maybe a lot of things are in between,

like the way i always miss him

but never quite do.

last night i dreamt of myself, age nine,

with my father and andy warhol

in the greenwood trader joe’s.

andy drifts across my childhood

memory, transient, passing through

aisles of fig newtons and gingersnaps

as he sketches everything in sight,

trails translucent fingers across

an ordinary life, regards it as something

marvelous. he kneels on the flecked vinyl

and says to me, the february light here, today,

is unprecedented. can you see it?

he is fascinated by the mundane,

and i am fascinated by him. you see ––

he is my father in an alternate universe:

the enigmatic, eccentric artist my dad might have been

if he’d had the gumption and the antidepressants

to pull it off. i look at my father, my elementary school

crossing guard, the scratch of his beard

emblematic of softness to me, his name

the first word i ever said.

i want to tell him:

you don’t have to be andy warhol.

you don’t have to be anything bigger than this.

it’s enough just to buy me campbell’s soup and bananas

at the grocery store, to let your hand sway

out the minivan window and try to catch hold

of the unimpeachable light

on our way home.

Rose & Road Signs

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