Poem: Coming of the Age of Man

By: Robert S. King

tugofwar

In his worn-thin army fatigues,
Daddy is drunk on moonshine.
He’s lost many jobs but never a battle.
His eyes aim their barrels at me.
A tattoo on his right arm says
The baby is dead.

Mama lets me go, lets herself go.

I try not to grow up,
but the back of daddy’s hand
demands that I stand tall.
Mama stands at attention
but looks far away
from his liquor breath
and pointing finger.

Mama keeps the change
for a future flight, hides
it beneath her wing, but she knows
we have too many holes
in our running shoes
and in our hearts.

Daddy wins at tug-of-war.
The tattoo on his left arm says
The man is born.

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