Dan Flore has volunteered to teach poetry to people suffering from mental illness. In the past his works have appeared in Many Mountains Moving and Victorian Violet Press. He lives in Pennsylvania.
press 1 to speak to your father
Press number 2 to speak to him in his 30’s:
Arizona-bound in a tobacco smelling vest,
his orange volkswagon abandoning only what abandoned him,
my mother in the passenger seat, pregnant with me.
I press the number 2 and hold it down as if the beeping sound
would explode my stepmother’s paranoid eyes. This time
the conversation will not be like an angry prayer I say.
I am predivorce me again, but not the same Danny who believed
you returned everything you stole by buying me a happy meal
though I’d take it now, as my poverty’s romanticsm has faded
against the black streaks on this mental hospital’s brick walls.
I am still early summer’s boy. Look at me in the chlorine.
I hang up the phone and scribble in the notes section of my Gideon:
I will no longer pray to the bags under my dad’s eyes;
they are now the worry of this dead lighter earth.
I want to pop them like I tried to when I was a child