On Seeing My Father Beaten by Police when I was Very Young


poem by John Thrower


My father was a deputy, was not
able to forest for the trees see
the difference between Marlboro
and marijuana in my drawers
pulled open because they were
too tightly private love tough
as concrete

My father was deputized was
not going to come home drunk
again, my mother assured me
and then again

My father was not a deputy
beaten by deputies of the Bernie
Police for smarts on a fuck up
for running from a traffic stop
to a Jack Daniel’s bottle down
the road where they couldn’t
prove a thing once they saw
him pounding the brown
black label of it held high

My father was a deputy once
before he came back to my aunt Wanda’s
coughing blood and my mother’s tears
and mine remembering now they bandaged
his ribs with raw white tape unsatisfactory
unlikely to hold unhealed breaks
of the black boots upon the deserving ribs

Time gives another kick in the ribs
another kick in the ribs, a kid,
another kick in the ribs, a proof
once more across the face of my mother
won’t like this, my mother don’t like this

I remember her tears, his inconsolable
gurgle of blood and them letting him rest
on the scratchy gold couch in the living room
before my uncle Hughsey got all caught up
in diseases of the eye and died. Remembering
the perverse pieta of my Dad in my mother’s arms
Did he die, is he dead?


Jon Thrower