Like Father by Robert S. King

My son has my eyes, but not yet my vision.
He denies I can see through him,
tells me how blind I am,
how hard to breathe it is
when I’ve sucked all air from the room.

Men offer tough love, but don’t say that word,
just its euphemism of “what’s best for you.”
It’s the kind of love that makes money
of the world, testosterone of tenderness.
I have already spent my future,
spent everyone in it.
My eyes burn with clarity.

You can see it in his eyes,
how there’s no time like the present.
He chooses a wife as costly as himself,
a southern bell to give him hell,
like him, one who wants it now,
he says one who nags for now.
Soon his apologies are the only currency for sex.
Soon he feels money would be cheaper.
He slips out with a pocketful of anger,
swivels the barstool toward a closer, fruitier perfume.

Tonight Peaches is her given name, a fog of fragrance and gin,
dolled up in shiny, fuzzy hair and rouge over the bruise.
Peaches can’t forgive either her father or her ex
(twins she calls them)
but warms to his staggering new cologne of Old Spice and rum,
this one of such tightly focused eyes.
She just wants a free drink and a lover with a long future.

And so the future goes.
He drinks more and goes home less.
He talks less and stalks more.
He chases every face that shines,
except the mirror.

2 Responses to “Like Father by Robert S. King”

  1. strong read with some amazingly powerful lines

    the first stanza was, for me, the strongest of all.. with deep richness and self revealing..

  2. Robert S. King has published work in hundreds of magazines, including The Kenyon Review, Southern Poetry Review, Lullwater Review, Chariton Review, Main Street Rag, and others. His latest books are The Hunted River and The Gravedigger’s Roots, both from Shared Roads Press, 2009. He is currently Director of FutureCycle Press, http://www.futurecycle.org.

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