Lynne Thompson


If he could have, he would have
whispered my name like an old wish—
would have admitted
I am your father
         I am a rage of teeth
I am absent but no marathon of deletions I am
your dancing foot’s
“Why Ya Wanna Make Me Blue”
the heat from a hastiness of cooks
I am the distraction that is every father

   (Maybe one day I’ll find him among
   a rascal of boys — neither a man
   nor a lad — but this day isn’t that day—)

If he can, he should reach out to me—
say my name like an old wish:
admit he acted like a knot of toads
a shell of electrons
a breakdown in his woman’s plans  He should say
he can never tell me why or why or why not
Just that he was never a hum of hymns  knows he
was never relevant in any of my lunar years  was
  a smokescreen  & all-ways  a plague of questions

Lynne Thompson is the author of three collections of poetry, most recently Fretwork selected by Jane Hirshfield for the Marsh Hawk Poetry Prize. A multiple Pushcart Prize nominee, Thompson’s recent workappears or is forthcoming in December, Ninth Letter, New England Review, and Best American Poetry 2020.

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