His Dead Son

by Karen R. Porter

it’s his dead son
hanging from his fist
like a flower

not a hammer
not directions
to a shortcut
out of town

it’s his son
thin and papery
dried out
by the wind
rattling through him

there had been chances
no one knows
how it happened
if it was
is afraid to talk

both faces now
are sunken leather
he forces words
goes through the gestures
and rasping in his grasp
his son speaks
with a lizard’s
arid tongue

Published in Not One of Us #29, March 2003