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Qiana Towns

You can blame yourself, my father said
and died. He has learned to own
his blues and like all true recovering addicts,
he sees his self in my flaws. This daddy
does not understand misfortune.

This is my father's story:
the only boy on the block with a torn iris,
a guitar and a German Shepherd,
two pair of Chuck Taylor’s, a ketchup garden
and a mother with a college degree.

His story is unlike my own:
three abortions and three apples
nibbled to their core.

I have begun reading warning labels, Daddy.
I have discovered that if we are the same then
babies leap from wombs
into caskets of roses—red, red.
And that feels like the hard press of hunger.

We only speak through the foliage
of anger; our love is distorted,
its sound a reverberating riff from plenty.

This is what we do because we have to.

Qiana Towns

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