When you were young and your skinny legs
could run and run there was the ghost
of your father whose image pumped
through the thin pipes of your limbs
and you did move like him,
a flash across the grass under heavy gray skies.
Your eyes were his too,
green most days, sometimes blue.
You were seven when he died,
a pile of cocaine under his nose.
At the funeral they touched your face
said My Land you do look like him, don't you?
That day your mother put you in a little suit.
Little brute in a suit,
scowling at the priest.
The pounding in your chest, the thunder in your belly
was the uprising of your body,
your answer to the polished
The weekend after
the funeral you played kickball
in the street with the other little boys
with fathers, boys whose mothers
brought casseroles to your mother
and didn’t know about the coroner’s report
that said overdose: your father’s heart
had stopped like a clock
Your father's name was your grandfather's name
and you were the third,
You closed off then
and did not understand how he could leave you
in the long day playing ball
casting purple shadows
against the hot streets
of your southern town.
But he left you his shed tools, his Led Zeppelin albums,
He left you his picture
and later you blew the roof off the school
with your weird hairdo then left
for someplace he'd never been.
Your eyes green lightning