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FOUR WAY BOOKS: Pat Mangan, The Harness
Four Way Books
The Harness
Pat Mangan

ISBN: 1-884800-15-7
paper, 52 pages, $12.95

My father had ideas
that made his face shine.
He sat at the kitchen table--
no one will remember this--
in Colorado, in '49, he said
"Tomatoes" the word rolling
off his tongue so sweetly
I said "What." "Don't interrupt"
Mother said "and with your mouth
full." But it was too late;
he was into it. His ears
grew red, then white,
bulbs it up behind his eyes.
Tomatoes! Yet I do
nothing. My mouth is full
of food, the good food he
puts on our table. I'm
nine. I don't know yet
how the black blood presses
against his brain like a fist:
he sighs, falls to the ground,
froths at the mouth. I
don't see him in the morning
walk to the closet, open the
door, asking his clothes why,
his shoes why, bruised and sweating.
Outside, the blizzard of '49.
Tomatoes. I wanted to kiss him.
Instead I lift my glass of milk.