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Holy father I can’t pretend

Holy father I can’t pretend

I’m not afraid to see you again

but I’ll say that when the time

comes I believe my courage

will expand like a sponge

cowboy in water. My earth-

father was far braver than me — 

coming to America he knew

no English save Rolling Stones

lyrics and how to say thanks

God. Will his goodness roll

over to my tab and if yes, how

soon? I’m sorry for neglecting

your myriad signs, which seem

obvious now as a hawk’s head

on an empty plate. I keep waking

up at the bottom of swimming

pools, the water reflecting

whatever I miss most: whiskey-

glass, pill bottles, my mother’s

oleander, which was sweet

and evergreen but toxic in all

its parts. I know it was silly

to keep what I kept f

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