2019 Poetry Contest Third Place Winner

Father
by Gabe Grace

And suddenly you were here with me

Again, sitting on the couch

Dragging that Marlboro and yelling at the Lions

On tv.

Your place always smelled like dirty laundry and you

Picked your thumb nails together

Nascently.

You said: it’s your world I’m just livin’ in it kiddo

And I felt paralyzed by the

Illusion of choice.

In the middle of the night you’d cook huge

meals.

Wrapped in bacon or swimming in butter

And I’d put your cigarette out when you’d

Fall asleep in front of the tv.

That was 20 years ago but

Yesterday, I caught myself picking my thumb nails together

And suddenly you were here

Again, sitting on the couch

Next to me.