Dreaming the Places My Father’s Tongue Has Been in Summer

Those goddamn lonely moments when I address him in the orchard

of his blue eyes, I ask him to tell me one unwholesome thing,

and he deflects. I remember being the only one watching moon color

clinging to the shoreline (white hairs flat against my legs). Somehow

I knew what to notice about the heat of summer crouching in corners,

and there I found a good and satisfying fear. His rugged forehead taught me

to be incandescent with the promise of exception. And still I wish to speak

some loose sentence in the orchard, in the office, in the gliding car: What is love?

Is it piston motion? Is love a warm and quiet mouth? The further shore or exhausted arms?

So I have inherited his tiny throat, squeezing food like a fist. Now home could be

a folding of wings, some calculated sentiment. I remember his hands holding a map

like smoke, my body strapped in the backseat becoming the shape of a girl,

becoming the shape of a spare and exceptional girl.

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