bastard and bite

he brushes his gums bloody 
trying to cleanse himself of his father's smile.
he's never seen it 
but has heard it was there. 

he stares, 
trying to find reflection 
in the bathroom mirror, 
            in windows, 
in anyone staring back.

and finds nothing. 

angrily licking the aftermath off fangs. 

fatherless boys are vampires 
feasting on lover’s flesh, 
reminding ourselves we’re alive. 
punishing them for being so human. 

my mother's first son 
would sleep his daylight away 
and journey only at night. 

like his father. 
      like mine. 
                and their fathers before them, 

trying to find a 

Copyright © 2016 by Roscoe Burnems. This poem originally appeared in Drunk in A Midnight Choir, April 2016. Used with permission of the author.