Poems About Parents
I failed at wisdom, nurture, / nature, separation, and calm. / I excelled at role model, if what / you wanted was wretched.
— from “Old Mom,” by Jessica Barksdale
What my father didn’t know when he drove / ten-year-old me in the bed of his pickup truck / to gun shows & shooting ranges, initiating me / into the art of the hunt, was that he was actually / teaching me how to write poems
— from “Portrait Of The Poet As A Child,” by Elizabeth Knapp
In my memories my godfather towers / over me, his deep baritone thundering / above us as we sing hymns during Sunday / service.
— from “Small,” by Courtney LeBlanc
My brother calls to say he’ll meet us / for lunch in a few hours, not to wait for him / if he’s late. He’s got to pick up Mom. / And though the crematorium / is near our hotel, he’ll take her ashes home / first.
— from “Waiting In Cars,” by Jackleen HoltonJuly 2023
We know it can’t last. / It’s still February, and it always snows in March / and April and sometimes even in May. / We’ll take it, though, the hunks of ice / shrinking and sliding off the roof / into puddles that weren’t there yesterdayJune 2023
I go out to sit with them — thin / insects tuning their strings, / the night’s first bat casting / in the breeze — and remember / that evening, hot and windless, / a new lover stripping / my bed, spreading my sheets / on the moonless grass.June 2023
The curve-billed thrasher digs the small purple potatoes / from the raised garden beds and ruins them. / He sets them back into the hollows in which they grew, / each speared neatly once through the heart.May 2023
After the radiation ruined her lungs, / and they’d drained fluid once a month, / then every other week, then every day, / my grandma said she wanted to go / home.April 2023
Because he didn’t think girls don’t like dinosaurs. Because he didn’t assume / he was entitled to have sex with me because he bought me a taco. / Because our date was an hour. Because what he gave me was light / and easy to carry.March 2023
When he held it out, I ran / my fingers over the shredded / cartilage of the nasal cavity / and the sutures that fused together / the cranium, the tip of my finger / gone for a second when I poked it / inside a shadowy orbitMarch 2023
My child is in the backseat with her mother / and can’t understand what’s happening, / keeps forgetting we’ve already told her / that she fainted and hit her head hard / on our living room’s stone floorFebruary 2023
At twenty you’ve managed to erase / our dad’s face from your own, / blacked out his sharp cheekbones / with roses, marked each eyelid / with an upside-down cross to distract / from his glossy brown irises.February 2023
My son and I are sitting on his back porch, / early October, the gold locust leaves above his barn / giving the morning light something to shine in. / An unfelt breeze makes itself known / when the leaflets shake and shimmer.
— from “The Last Day, Again”February 2023
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