Iowa Writes

ELIZABETH OSHRIN PARKER
Angry Like Fear


He's been an adult now
3 to 5 years
depending on the definition
and during that time
he's worn the sins of his father
heavy
around his neck
like a penance
like a unfashionable necklace
he just can't get off

Hes angry mostly
angry like indignity
angry like fear

he thinks
if only he had made different choices
then I too would have different ones to make

he sees his father
gradually but noticeably
less strong
less impressive
less than the giant of his youth

and he thinks
I could hate you more than I love you
yes
I do think thats true

and yet
he knows
although not without complaint
that the love is still there
less strong than the faults around his neck
but still riding around
somewhere in him
or maybe somewhere between
him and his father

He's been an adult now
3 to 5 years
depending on the definition
and during that time
he's worn the sins of his father
heavy
around his neck
like a penance
like a unfashionable necklace
he just can't get off

Hes angry mostly
angry like indignity
angry like fear

he thinks
if only he had made different choices
then I too would have different ones to make

he sees his father
gradually but noticeably
less strong
less impressive
less than the giant of his youth

and he thinks
I could hate you more than I love you
yes
I do think thats true

and yet
he knows
although not without complaint
that the love is still there
less strong than the faults around his neck
but still riding around
somewhere in him
or maybe somewhere between
him and his father

and on more generous days
growing as the years long
and become more plentiful
further into his adulthood
further into his own mistakes

he sometimes thinks
he sometimes wonders
about the choices
his father really had

and on other days
independent of his father
he looks around at the world
he looks at the way things work
different than he once thought
different than the fair that was taught

and he thinks
maybe the place matters more
maybe if this wasn't Baltimore
Oakland
Milwaukie
Ferguson
New York
Alanta
maybe

and sometimes
against his own pain
against the fear around his own neck
he thinks
maybe
actually
the identity my father was born with
not his personality
matters more
to how things turned out

maybe if he had been born less dark
more money
more straight
maybe

maybe if he had been born different
or if the world was different
if justice
equality
peace
was different

than I could be living different now

more

About Iowa Writes

Since 2006, Iowa Writes has featured the work of Iowa-identified writers (whether they have Iowa roots or live here now) and work published by Iowa journals and publishers on The Daily Palette. Iowa Writes features poetry, fiction, or nonfiction twice a week on the Palette.

In November of 2008, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated Iowa City, Iowa, the world's third City of Literature, making the community part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.

Iowa City has joined Edinburgh, Scotland and Melbourne, Australia as UNESCO Cities of Literature.

Find out more about submitting by contacting iowa-writes@uiowa.edu


ELIZABETH OSHRIN PARKER

Elizabeth Oshrin Parker is a PhD candidate in the University of Iowa's Couple and Family Therapy program.

This summer, Parker will be a guest lecturer at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon.

This page was first displayed
on June 25, 2015

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