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  • My Father
  • Susanna Childress (bio)

Who art in rural Minnesota, I bear your name. Your kingdom is a fiefdom of weathered souls,

not the least of which is Bobby Kennedy, quoting Aeschylus after MLK’s death again and again, such a tender corner

on the truth, not long before his own violent passing. How could it mean what I want it to mean? Your will is done, here,

Mother cowering in the doorframe and two-thirds of the children about to let go the cupboard doors with a bang. We

are barely unearthed. Give me today some quotidian thing — a cloud, rising up in the sky as if to embrace; a short

stick of candle to hold between my palms for a night; an undulating ape between trees — any representation

of the kindred to curb my appetite. Forgive me my wrongs as I do yours, or mean to: yes, mercy lights like a scarlet letter

on our chests. We could fall over with any breath at all. So then, lead us not in reaping the whirlwind, for both of us have sown

the wind. Deliver me no blow. For thine is the rage and the politesse of Norwegians that haunts me forever. In all men. [End Page 43]

Susanna Childress

Susanna Childress’s second volume of poems, Entering the House of Awe (New Issues Press, 2011), was selected for the 2012 Society of Midland Authors Poetry Award. Her first book, Jagged with Love (University of Wisconsin Press, 2005), won the Brittingham Prize in Poetry. Childress lives, teaches, parents, gardens, founders, and glows in Holland, Michigan.



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