Don’t tell me who my father is—
& we around his September fire, this spitted pork-loin
turning slow off a 9-volt & slathered
in pepper & mustard by hand—Don’t tell me who
my fucking father is.
(Call it the devil, if you must,
how this feels.
You’d be mad or driven
if climbing out the river
that ache still unreleased
you heard something bird-kin
say yer the Son of everything—
In the dark, now, beyond the fire: ruin
Adam wants to re-take. In sweet William
& daylilies gone volunteer
he sees this lattice of veined copper,
& a tub from the second story
all bone-light in alders: the negative
of his father’s once lightning-took home
now wilderness nearly.
(And Satan said
just say the word, & Christ
told him to fuck off,
from the city on the mountains, the psalms,
& Christ tells him again, fuck off.
Which isn’t the conversation
we’re having. Okajima on the radio
is pitching well in the sixth,
though I want us to lose
as though that madness blossoming
inside me could, green-flash in the fuse box
of memory, burn everything away
into some new season.
say spirit, some madness
or maybe temptation
took Jesus into the desert
or was it wilderness?
But that isn’t the conversation we’re having.
He’s still arguing about his father,
& no one said anything
about his father.
We walk into the valley to a bar
& still cradling the dog—light
about something massive,
Adam calls his brother in the city
(in the desert, mad
with thirst & wonder asking
the very earth
Tell me about my father—
& the announcer’s saying two out
in the eighth but I can’t hear who they’re putting in
& I’m imagining
the green of the outfield
what Jesus escaped into
all suburb now.
As the son of everything
climbed free of the river, the dove
refusing to just stop already, John’s hands
reeking of water & goat
not nearly baptism enough,
he felt that want rising, knowing
everything was not nearly Father enough.
What was it
our father didn’t want me to know?
elsewhere, also watching the game,
Colin Cheney is the author of Here Be Monsters (Georgia University Press, 2010), a National Poetry Series selection. His work has appeared in publications such as AGNI, American Poetry Review, The Kenyon Review, Ploughshares, and Poetry. He has received a Pushcart Prize and a Ruth Lilly Fellowship. He is an editor of Tongue: A Journal of Writing & Art, and the creator and co-host of the podcast Poet in Bangkok.