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BARRY, Gene


The Thicket Speaks


My father wore an almanac of disapprovals

his maimed mother had dressed him in.

No mornings, evenings or seasons, just

publications of self rejection dusted daily

that clung like distasteful dogshit.


Tabulations from his submerged heart

perpetuated an unspoken unhappiness

the beautiful man could not be rescued from.

The heave from his disregard commuting

him to a concealed replica called a wedding.


The consecutive years set seven sets of ears

to his mother’s finely tuned ensemble,

his successes decked in photographs

and words unacknowledged; the unused

howling emotions buried with his father.


At the largest funeral in our neighbourhood,

the one he spent a lifetime dreaming about,

one of Dad’s admiring teammates told me

that he was the bravest man he had met,

he’d put his head where you wouldn’t put your boot.


Sing to me Dad from this thicket of peace

and love and safety you now call home,

speak to me of the gallant portraits they’ve

festooned your heart and mind with.

Tell me, how do you feel.