Arian Katsimbras

Issue #
February 28, 2015

After Brushing the Gaps in My Son’s Teeth

My son is six and losing teeth. I try to sing

him to sleep at night, as he’s afraid

of coming apart from his mouth out

and the gravel in my throat makes the song

sound of what we buried under the shed

and I tell him bones sing, too, arrange

themselves into knots underneath

the sheets. Ghostdance, I hum to him, eat

your fists tucked under the pillow

if your mouth hurts.


Yesterday I turned fevered and rattled

that hum while he pressed his hands

where my eyes should be. He does this

every time before I leave him. Today I left him

in the haunted west. How else can I explain

what it’s like to lose a child? Fatherhood?

I walk backwards under an impossible sky?

Every sky was a weight? Save you from it

throwing itself down onto your body?

Thieves? Burning? Hush.


He told me the other day that the future

is blank And white. I asked him

where he heard this from. He opened

his mouth, pulled crayons out in a bag,

drew  a picture of him which was square,

filled it in black and black and black, said,

you aren’t here.

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