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Holy father I can’t pretend

Kaveh AkbarKaveh Akbar June 16, 2020
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Holy father I can’t pretend

I’m not afraid to see you again

but I’ll say that when the time

comes I believe my courage

will expand like a sponge

cowboy in water. My earth-

father was far braver than me — 

coming to America he knew

no English save Rolling Stones

lyrics and how to say thanks

God. Will his goodness roll

over to my tab and if yes, how

soon? I’m sorry for neglecting

your myriad signs, which seem

obvious now as a hawk’s head

on an empty plate. I keep waking

up at the bottom of swimming

pools, the water reflecting

whatever I miss most: whiskey-

glass, pill bottles, my mother’s

oleander, which was sweet

and evergreen but toxic in all

its parts. I know it was silly

to keep what I kept from you;

you’ve always been so charmed

by my weaknesses. I just figured

you were becoming fed up with

all your making, like a virtuoso

trying not to smash apart her

flute onstage. Plus, my sins

were practically devotional:

two peaches stolen from

a bodega, which were so sweet

I savored even the bits I flossed

out my teeth. I know it’s

no excuse, but even thinking

about them now I’m drooling.

Consider the night I spent reading

another man’s lover the Dream

Songs in bed — we made it to

“a green living / drops

limply” before we were

tangled into each other, cat

still sleeping at our feet. Allow

me these treasures, Lord.

Time will break what doesn’t

bend — even time. Even you.

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