My Dad by Ciarán Myers

who had his left hand whipped
by a meter stick
for using it
to dot his ‘i’swho fed the cats
that made him sneeze
with bad milk
poured into
the divots of his
dry mud

who gathered
from under the eyes
of an angry bull
before he was five feet tall
everyone could eat well

who came across the ocean
on a boat
with little more
than an accent
a wooden chest
and a child’s first foreign
appetites for adulthood

who brought his father’s friends
to the hospital
before he was old enough
to drive
or drink enough
to not

whose mother dragged
him by the ear
anytime he frightened her

who was asked
to help raise
his siblings
when someone else’s
liver was spent

who was introduced
to his father’s lovers
like a prime cut
for the near future

who taught me
to fall in love
with the tiniest
tastes and
smallest sounds

who vowed himself to break
certain cycles
and succeeded

who never missed
a Sunday mass
in seventy-five years

is, only today,
putting himself directly
in harm’s way
and, forgive me,
I am livid.

Ciarán Myers is a writer, theatre artist, teacher, dancer, and first-generation Irish-Canadian. Find out more about his work here:

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