During one father-son trip I fell, made
a crater in my forehead. It doesn’t matter
how little the blood, how quickly the crying
stopped. From then on, after the camera’s
click, my mother stepped quickly in,
swerving her body, smoothing herself
against my father one last time as she took
me back, making herself a ceramic shield
against the solar flare of him, bright
and burning with 90 proof whiskey.
In this instance—photographed—
I’m crying, raised above my father’s head
like a tiny satellite. Written beneath
on the polaroid: la gloire de mon père.
This shot of us, the glory of my father,
is the one I love most—farthest away,
but somehow clearest—contrasted
against the sky, new-born and shining.
Now I orbit him every birthday.

 

 

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