Misconceptions of Childhood

My father was a sidewise Jack, 
always in profile, a hand on his rod. 
His pack was a Destroyer, said my mother,
where he played ping-pong on 
the deck, two fingers flat on his spade. 
I saw his photo: a big-bellied dick 
in a tailor-made sailor suit. 
"Bye-Bye!" he waved, and out I 
sprang, strong enough
to shove all the drawers shut.

My teeth took root. White 
stalagmites, their stems sunk inward 
and rotted. Biting strawberries, 
they sheared unripe heads from 
luscious tips. 
The leaves caused a rash.

My mouth's toes, St. Theresa, 
grind with your hips 
when you close your eyes. Sex is 
sacred, you say. 
Leaving me, to prove it.

From Soft Box from Celia Bland. Copyright © 2004 by Celia Bland. Reprinted by permission of CavanKerry Press. All rights reserved.