2012: Joanne M. Clarkson – My Father, The Butcher

Poem from the 2012 issue.

MY FATHER, THE BUTCHER
By Joanne M. Clarkson

My father, the butcher, loved
children, street baseball, and the way
fur stroked over bones.
He taught the neighbor’s mongrel dog
to dance to the sound
of his whistle.
After Sunday morning breakfast, he fed
the wild deer left-over pancakes
from his hands.
My father, the butcher, loved
poker, Christmas, and the sound
an owl makes just after dusk.
Once he chased a white chicken
that escaped the poultry truck
five blocks down First Avenue
and brought it home as a pet.
It told us about every sunrise.
My father, the butcher, kept a yellow
parakeet named Buddy, a small green
turtle and a rabbit with red eyes.
Every morning on his way to work, he fed
the sway-backed horse in the rainy field
an apple.
He learned his profession in the army,
fed a family, fainted at his first
sight of blood.

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