In the Locker Room, My Father by D. Gilson

In the Locker Room, My Father

is a god. I wait on the bench below him
like Ares, wrapped in a white towel:
rough cotton, stamped Smithfield YMCA.

Steam settles around our collection of feet.
Like this we prepare for war. He tells me:
Son, you will walk away from your home,

from the hearts of your mother and father.
I will command this. You will walk in search
of the Mississippi and along the way, become

an avid St. Louis Cardinals fan. You will
learn how to fill a pipe with fine tobacco.
How to give a woman your phone number

with grace. When you reach the muddy banks,
you will swim to an island and come back
where nothing is the same. Water drips

onto the breadth of my father’s thighs,
onto the lack of my own. How old am I?
Nine? Ten? My father sighs and tells me:

Or son, you will take to men. They will take
to you and you will become their prophet,
but also their sacrifice, their burnt offering.

via D. Gilson – Poetry.


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