I write as the son of a                                          . My father was a                               man, a                                           man, a                       -                           man. He claimed to love my mother, who                               and                                           and                                           and                                                    until she just disappeared. And who could blame her? And didn’t the rain fall like                               and didn’t the well of wrongheadedness run deep? My three sisters saw right through our father’s trouble. He was a man who hated to be seen that way. My father had no choice but to                                          . At first, they accepted his anger. Little did my father know                                        , the meaning of hubris. A man can only                                       for so long. To say nothing of temperament. There are many                                        on the other side of fear. And none of them are love. It’s time, brothers. A woman sits quietly thinking. And that’s the cold, hard fact of it. Her turning. Her                          , and her                                 , and her                                 , the sly mechanics of her strength gone unacknowledged. My father believed his little yes-men. His little yes-thoughts. Yeses lead lone men to bleeding. To                              , and to                                     , and to                                     . I will pay for what my father passed on: the                                           and the                                          . No, I don’t                               and expect                                 . No, I don’t                                          . No, I don’t                                    . My sisters walked off to                                     . My father thought he could wreck the house and they’d clean up after him. All those convenient kerchiefs for kidnapped women in cinema? My father couldn’t imagine his hands tied so tightly. No, I don’t expect anyone’s ransom. My darling, turn of a woman, I know you will never                      . Let alone read this. I am                            , I am nothing. I am no one if not my father’s son.


Yona Harvey is the author of Hemming the Water, winner of the Kate Tufts Discovery Award. She teaches in the Writing Program at the University of Pittsburgh. Her website is yonaharvey.com.


:: more from this issue ::

Four Poems

Tania Nwachukwu



Two Poems

Amber Atiya



Rage in Color

A. Montgomery



Nocturnes

Abdul Ali


Three Poems

Hanif Abdurraqib



Letter Twelve

Ekere Tallie



Three Poems

Rachel Long



Re: Surrender

Yona Harvey


Genesis

Jacinta White



Three Poems

Derrick Weston Brown



Zenah

Cheyenne Varner



Is It Sweet?

Athena Dixon