Sometimes you get to crying, like straight buckets, looking at pictures of your own little man after all those chains of learning how: to stay tough and break laws and be mean as winter. Each name had a face, each face a narrow understanding, so how do you understand past it, what you were shown in raised voices and bottles breaking, names called and hands pushing? An accumulation. How many bloodlines besides yours are you tied to? But this ain’t about you though, really, right? This boy it’s about. He came from something in you that comes from something. You always gotta wonder what it is. Your helix no doubt, but what else spread beyond it? Exhale: You’ve had a child but whose child are you? You know your genes if only to hear them, see them weave a predictable stitch. But the boy—the boy is branching out, and the only thing you know is the fear. Of a hope you can’t control. O you’ve had daddies galore. Figures and surrogate men. Drinkers and fighters, boys with beards bearing their own unknown scars. And what’s that leave you to leave him but ripples, prayers, tears as you kneel? You whisper, Help me save him from it, meaning that which came first, before this. What’s left but such small pleas, these wishes? What’s left but these bleeding knees?
William R. Soldan lives in Youngstown, Ohio, with his wife and two children. His poetry has appeared in publications such as Jelly Bucket, Jump: International Journal of Modern Poetry, Neologism Poetry Journal, Anti-Heroin Chic, Ohio’s Best Emerging Poets: An Anthology, and others.