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In My Blood



I have syringes stuck in my heels.
They poke through the earth wherever I walk
sucking up the dirt, sap, and rain.
My father taught me that.

Each day the world sings to him
Good morning Pat!
He smiles, sings back
Good morning world!

It takes time to hear it.
He was born fluent in the badlands
with wide-open space and buffalo,
raised on brown grass and canned fruit.
When his shirt collars wore through
his mother turned them over,
re-sewed with nimble fingers.
The same ones played my fiddle fifty years ago.
He wandered through the ash of grandpas farm
swirling in a dustbowl, and settled
resigned, into the stiff backs of church pews.

The absence of a thing can be a blessing.
Now he worships trees and ivy, the bushes full of berries.

Can you believe how green it is here?

When he was thirteen he was caught in a blizzard hunting rabbits. A part of his ear is forever hardened from frostbite.
I remember pinching it between my fingers at the dinner table. I was thirteen too but I didn’t own a gun;
his fire flows from me in other ways.
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Submitted by S.R. on May 13, 2021

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