Your Father Sunbathing
Sundays, your father climbs out a window onto the roof, looking for somewhere there are no women, nothing else to do but undress, lie down and open his arms wide, spread his legs and make an X, a target for the sun to concentrate all its energies on, the groin, the seat of the soul, the hairy, breathing sac, and your father summoning all the light he can, his exhaustion heroic, a warrior's. What if you follow, quiet as the light, kneel beside him, intimate as the sun, trace his calves, his ankle's spidery veins, even his tired feet cocked to one side? Like someone blind, you want to read the line of your father's jaw, the story of his mouth, your mouth on his shoulders, his belly--lightly as you'd kiss a flower, brushing your lips across your father's penis, its taste like petals, wet grass, wax candy, old dolls. Like women at the cross who gather the crucified into their arms, stroking a miracle, not to take the wound away but to know what suffering really is. Mary, Mary Magdelene. It seems so natural, the mouth pressing against all it's drawn to.
From Ovid at Fifteen by Chrisopher Bursk. Copyright © 2003 by Christopher Bursk. Reprinted by permission of New Issues Press. All rights reserved.