Today's poem is by Rebecca Morgan Frank


The father is the mother of absence. Ina,
Ina. Ina
means Mama, means mother, means

a fly bite can take a life. Seedy fragile eyes
sit above a foul-mouthed fluttering. Why

shoo fly, shoo. It's the little things that do
by erasure. A missing hem, an updo, you

can't recall what fell from her hair: blossoms
and pins, her skin the color of cocoa cooled

by powdered milk. A delicacy too hot for an
island she never left. He'd get her gifts, he'd

come back soon. Papa means tatay, means
the way you speak or be spoken to. He broke

a man, he shot a man, he had a man stomped
on. Don't do wrong. Don't slap back. Snap.

Half of you is half of her, and half of her and
half of you is all him. Don't let him in the blood

and skin. Pinch the baby's bottom and say no,
Daddy, no. I won't come home to death.

Copyright © 2015 Rebecca Morgan Frank All rights reserved
from Harvard Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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