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Said Guns Father

His suspenders. His kidney beans. His knives.
His names for those from other countries,
for men who love men.
His belt and his simple rules.
He had a tiny square of metal in his head,
half a thumb, a pocket comb. 
As he drank
he felt his way home in the dark
like he was feeding a herd of strange animals by hand.
Is brutality conditioned?
Is the hatred in the voice of a tractor
whose frozen engine is forced to turn over
inherited by the driver? Does the wind
become the hand’s tremor?
Does the relentless emptiness
surrounding the house
make one numb
                      to internal intricacies,
the suffering of a calf trampled by its own sire
to anyone’s regular pain?
If you spend long enough out in the elements
do you become wood, iron, rain?
This is prairie algebra.
There is a particular equation
to which my father is the result.
I don’t have to understand it.
I don’t have to forgive.
I’ll just tell you that he is buried
in the blackest soil a glacier ever left behind
and my pen is not a spade.

Andrew Grace

  The Moth is a beautiful creature. David Mitchell

No other magazine like it. Billy Collins

A rare literary gem. Dermot Healy

The Moth is an amazing magazine. Donal Ryan


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