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  You could have a big dipper   

Gary by Jason W. McGlone

My father is an elderly

cat, sixteen, slowing down, & pissing

on the walls

mainly out of spite, we think.

When I was in eighth grade he sat

on the tailgate of his truck with

a cooler of Miller Lites & sang

The Lumberjack Song until it was

dark & he was too drunk to make

it inside, so he slept next

to the back steps, wet with dew

in the morning, embarrassed & cold.

My father is a lamp

on my nightstand, patinated

brass, shade broken, lit all

day long.

He once threw a broom at

me when I, at twelve, flipped him the bird;

it flew like a spear on a gorgeous

arc, brush end whizzing past my

nose. Nobody is the hero

of this story.

My father is a photograph

held to my refrigerator by a magnet;

he & his sister, in their teens--

song-perfect smiles, as if the photographer

had told them a dirty joke as the camera snapped.

When he was six, he carried a Pepsi bottle

for protection against what dangers may

have come as they wove through the streets

& alleys of Dayton. I’ll protect you, kid

brother promised.

My father is a dead man in an elevator,

heart burst somewhere between the fifth

floor & the lobby; found collapsed after

the doors opened & closed a few times,

too late for anything to do any good.

Weeks before, we sat on a picnic table & he

defended the years-long affair he'd conducted,

for which I can't explain my forgiveness, but

there it stands, equal parts asshole & desperate

for touch, regardless of who might be the partner.

Against all advice and my own better judgement, I miss him.


Jason W. McGlone's work has appeared in Potluck Magazine, The Metaworker, Sledgehammer Lit and is forthcoming in Imperial Death Cult & The Orchards Poetry Journal. He makes music under the name Mourning Oars, holds an MFA from Queens University of Charlotte, and lives in Cincinnati with his family. Twitter: @maoglone

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