The Black Napkin Volume 1 Issue 3 - Page 45


looking back, my dreams were full of prisons

by Jonathan Moore

after dionne brand

house hush

here the ribbit-ribbit-throat of my father.

i am standing in the doorway monitoring for signs of

suffocation or foul play

i spend most nights of my 13th year warding off sudden

death with coughs and heavy footsteps.

before this nocturnal turn,

the ten years in which night brings my father, very much alive,

to me in my sleep. he is snoring 20 feet away but here

he cannot come home

because smoke stole him

or he stole some smokes or

broke into time and shoplifted 1998,

curses its name and all that is to come,

sticks a crack pipe

in it’s mouth,

lights a match, laughs revenge

into existence and kicks hard, harder than habit, explodes

1998 into shards of rock/breath and word,

now return be my reverie. 1998 my favorite year. the gall of

future ghosts a lullaby. me three years old. me no scared to look

daddy in the eyes. me smell-food-frying/can eat catfish without every bite blowing smoke in my face/me, escaping backwards/crawling out his hands and into

now, no longer a hush of 13 but a loud hole of 21. still

washing spoons twice, afraid of trace elements of trauma.

how forgiveness is a diet. how i’m never hungry.

now hush. i don’t have to be fleshy revenge.

i don’t have to be tight tendons,

i touch my throat and it is no longer tunnel.

the great plains of detroit fall out of my mouth and i take a

road trip to 1998 in my daddy’s camry, mama in the

passenger seat and she laughs and laughs.