through the years when what I needed most
was to hold my father’s hand. Marked by that need,
as one is marked with a bruise. Once, he chased a man
from his store for calling us foul. A mistake, the stranger
came to realize, when his insult was rebutted
with a scowl and 24-inch machete. I like to think
before every angry father is a coward. From that story,
I don’t want to be the child so much the blade.
So much can be said for the threat. The threat
almost being the story my father held, the threat almost being
what I have come to expect from love.