By November 4, 2015 0 Comments Read More →

PoetryView

My Father, The Tailor
by Sam Pierstorff

By 16, you’d become a master liar—
telling the U.S. Marines you were 18.
They rewarded you with a trip to Korea
to fight the North, to eventually drive a jeep
over a landmine, to be launched
from the driver’s seat onto the banks
of the Kum River.

Medics sewed you back together,
tweezing shrapnel from your left shin
that is covered now by a red rose tattoo.
“Those sutures saved my leg,” you tell me
as you stitch the hole in my Levi’s.

I’m eight years old, sitting at the edge of your bed
in Green Lantern Underoos, watching your sewing needle
swim like a dolphin through waves of ripped denim.

“All men should learn how to sew,” you mumble,
holding the needle between your lips to tie off the thread.
“There you go, kid. Good as new.”

I slip the jeans back on, trace my fingers
along the now-gone tear—thin
like the blue line of a river on a world map.
Three decades pass. Our lives split by divorce,
college, my job that put 300 miles of freeway
between us, the roads paved with your silence—

until one day when you call to accuse me of things
I have never done—made-up stories careening
out of your mouth like cars on rain-flooded streets.
Every stitch of yourself unravels with hatred and rage.

I blame your dementia, your cancer, the pill bottles
that shake like maracas in your hands
as the last threads of your life come loose.
We haven’t talked in years, and maybe
our relationship can never be mended, Dad,
but just in case, you should know, that every day
I am here, learning how to sew.

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