You left before the spring came, without any
warning, just as you said you would.
Breakfast sausage still spitting in the pan,
you wanted to feed us, one last time,
food that would stick to our ribs. For the love of God,
we would be fed. Fortified, we would be ready
to reap our inheritance:
shots of moonshine from your leather-encased flask,
the one engraved with your initials,
don’t say, I never did anything for ya.
Mama called you Daddy. We called you Deacon.
You belonged to us, but your language was not ours,
soaked in brine—a gift, you said, from the angels,
the stars, Jesus Christ, and so on.
The town called you D. They thought you were
divine, possessed, chosen—that you could hang,
pretty, on their walls.
Now your face is a cracked plate. No longer
our father, your tires burn
through Carnes Crossroads.
Can you smell the dead fire in our hair?
We carry you on our backs, forever branded
your children. Still, we search this forsaken suburb of garbage
and sunlight, not knowing which way to go. We call out
in the mushrooming dusk—
Can you hear your name on our tongues?
We are hungry.
By Britt Canty
Britt Canty received her MFA in Creative Writing from The New School. Her writing has appeared in New Plains Review, Bookanista, Volume 1 Brooklyn, and other places. She’s a co-founder of HIP Lit, and she lives in Queens where she’s at work on a novel. You can connect with her on Twitter @BrittCanty.