No I Cannot Have Anything

Here is a memory

of my father long before

I ever heard the word

republican. He swims

freestyle with me side-by side

until I am perfect. When he buys me

an ice cream cone, I feel his love,

not wind, not tea party

conservatism. I cry every time

I read Brokeback Mountain.

My father is not a violent man.

He wouldn’t drag a queer

around by his dick,

but he’d watch. He’d whisper

faggot, but wouldn’t

admit he said it.

I have his eyes,

not the color but the shape,

downturned, sad. My father said

I can have anything

if I work hard enough. My father

said women in men’s clothes

are distracting, that I am not

a man. I am not a man.

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