To the Sons
by Dustin Pearson
When your dad starts following you into mirrors,
you’ll try to ignore him. To full resolution he’ll creep
an outfit of the whole skin you wear,
and from where within you’ll breathe over the years.
Underneath, you’ll reach for slight evidence
that you’re alive and separate.
Outside the mirrors, you’ll notice.
When your body swells, it will swell like his,
and when it wilts, it will wilt like his,
and when it sags, and when it’s sick.
You’ll think how sound it would’ve been
having it all prefaced, saving days
trying to picture how you’ll both perish.
Try not to take badly when somebody tells you
how you look. Nice. Like him. There will be a world
of people doing it. Try your best
to say thank you, to give something back.
Don’t expect them to understand.
When you lie in bed, it’s him
you’ll go to sleep with. When you eat,
it’s his lip that will curl around the food,
though it will be your body he nourishes.
Try to dodge mentioning how when you smear
your hands across your face to wash it,
you imagine the spread of your features as his,
that when you’ve blotted out all the mirrors,
even the darkness you inherit is his.
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