Our Fathers

A Poem by Anna Keeler

Your father was a Russian Jew
My father was bleeding Catholic
Lying, smiling,
But still
Always bleeding

Opening my arms and pouring that blood back into me.
He ripped my skin from the paint on the walls
And strapped me to the ceiling.

He walked in on our Copacabana dream,
Where you were the princess,
But I was the queen

He watched as I straddled you
Laughed as you straddle me.
He saw your dead body
your hallowed name echoing off the walls
[Maybe he wishes it wasn’t you, it was me.]

How many times did I tell him
t was just a dream?
How many tears did I cry
As he stripped the walls off me?

[He cares,
It’s only because he cares,
He did it again,
but at least he cares.]

My father still tries to hurt me.
My father should be in prison.

But I am still free.

My father is free.

You — you are here —
But not really free.

I lose you in five blue corners.
I lose you in the arc of the covenant —

Not with God,
but with my father.

[You’re here again.
Always doing this again,
But at least you are here
And you care.]


Bio: Anna Keeler is a poet and fiction writer. She was the 2016 recipient of the Arden Goettling Academy of American Poets Prize. Her work has been published or is upcoming on Poets.org,The Merrimack Review, Cleaver Magazine, The Writing Disorder, Sick Lit Magazine, Unbroken Literary Journal, and more.

 

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