My Father’s Face

by Dorsey Craft

When my father was a boy, he flew
        on two wheels and roar, an Icarus
with a collar bone like a canary

and smooth tan skin. The seat must
        have rumbled between his thighs,
the motor’s purr against his scrotum

a more dense and thorny pleasure
        even than slipping forward and back
on the textured bathtub floor

until the water sloshed or pressing again
        into the deflated couch cushions.
Nothing like my own early mornings

in chatrooms, tabs switched from bright
        blue games at our kitchen desktop
to what would you do for me and

are you hard now from strangers.
        Sometimes I was a hard man, though soft
was not the female term, I learned,

but never guessed wet would be correct.
        Woman was easier, say yes and be naked
in my XXL t-shirt dress until my father

ambled in to fry bacon. I’d close the browser
        and butter the toast. Twelve years old,
my father crested a hill and shot into the sky,

his brother met him there, a mash of flesh
        and metal that left his jaw a tattered
wing after a spray of shot: feathers

of muscle and skin across his chin
        and the nose a drooping neck
and closed gray eyelid. Being called a woman

for the first time is a memorable thing,
        and so my father still recalls the smack
of laughter from down the stairs

when he shouted My face, my goddamned face!
        into the oval mirror, light from a bare bulb
he flicked dark quick as a stitch.

DORSEY CRAFT holds an MFA from McNeese State University. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Crab Orchard ReviewThe Massachusetts ReviewMid-American ReviewNinth LetterNotre Dame ReviewRhino Poetry and elsewhere. She is currently a Ph.D student in poetry at Florida State University and the Assistant Poetry Editor of The Southeast Review.