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Andy Eaton


Smoke tails from my father’s hand

and rises into trees. He reminds me how

he never took those pills, after jumping

feet first to the riverbed, how both

ankles snapped after he was shot up

in Vietnam, and he’d pierced his own wrist

with the used syringe he’d lifted off

the metal tray beside the bed next to his,

and got sent back with malaria, after AWOL

crossing into TJ, after running off

to Arkansas to third shift work and plucking,

and this is where I wish not to believe

in his minutiae, cut the cord, but relish

his delight at details only he imagines,

he says, at the chicken plant the necks

of chickens out, razored tumors off the breasts,

after three nights spent in county where

two men pinned him to the wall to split

him with their cocks, he says, all before

seminary, before his marriage then

his marriage to my mother ends, before

he’ll leave, and I’ll watch his emerald minivan

diminish down Raintree Avenue toward

a borrowed houseboat in the Sound, after

moving to the Ozarks, moving out to Vegas,

back to San Diego, Christiansburg, Phoenix,

then Texas where we sit under his carport

for the afternoon and he says he could pull

the papers out right then to show me

if I liked, but I just look around us

at the pepper tree capsules tossed across

the concrete rolling in the breeze beside

his shoes. Now, I flick a flint-dead lighter

sparkless. See that kitchen cupboard open,

a disc of amber vials in the dark still circling.

img_6321.jpg - Andy Eaton.webp


Andy Eaton is the author of Sprung Nocturne (Lifeboat Press, 2016). His poems appear in or are forthcoming from Copper Nickel, The Iowa Review, Ploughshares, and The Yale Review, among other places.

Bear Review


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