Back to Issue Forty-Five

A faded picture of our father and


you with whom I no longer speak,
taken before I was born, before

we fell out, before he grew sick.
Weeks ago, my neighbor and his wife

fought in their front yard. You don’t
love me anymore. You haven’t loved me

in years. What could he say? The photo,
fifty years old—how did it come to be

mine, our father in his green shirt,
and faintly, the face you will

grow into. What am I to do
with it? I run my finger along

the breakfast plate, touch the breadcrumbs
to my tongue. The small seeds

give between my teeth:
fennel, flax, sunflower, sesame.


The Good Guy


We stood on the back porch in the late
afternoon, crying hard but quiet so

the kids wouldn’t hear, and looked at
each other. After, tired, we fell asleep

on the couch, which we hadn’t done
in years. When we moved into this house,

we found a garden, and that first summer,
I picked tomatoes, squash, my hands

passing over what needed more time,
what had fallen to the ground, rotting or

half-eaten. When the season ended, we
let the grass spread over the dirt and

whatever else was buried there. I woke up
in the early evening to a sadness

like something I could point to, a painting
you hung on the wall, a silver bowl

you filled with coins from countries you might
never see again. I could hear the boys

playing in the next room—Now, I get
to be the bad guy, until one stopped

the game to say, I’m hungry.
Me, too, the other said, and you got up

slowly and made your way to the kitchen.

Blas Falconer is the author of three books of poetry, including Forgive the Body This Failure (Four Way Books 2018). He teaches in the MFA program at San Diego State University.

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