This selection, chosen by Managing Editor Krista Cox, is from Open the Fist by Elya Braden, released by Finishing Line Press in 2020.
In My Father’s Office
He was a smaller thing at home,
trapped on a concrete island
like the noon-dazed lion at the zoo.
The insistent swarm of our voices
pricked him awake. Head shake,
rise and roar: “You idiot!” “Stop crying!”
“I’ll give you something to cry about!”
On special Saturdays, I was invited
to his glass and steel-girded castle—
all elevators, carpets, empty offices,
walls papered with pin-striped secrets.
Daddy’s wide wood desk too polished
to touch, crisp folders set at right angles.
His leather chair on rollers: a throne for the king
of everything. His cup of pencils sharp as arrows,
hungry for blood. Lined up next to them,
the frozen smiles of our school pictures. This
is how he loved us: tidy, adoring, silent.
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