Issue Forty-One - Winter 2023

While My Mother Worked the Night Shift

By John Dorroh

My father dipped me in milk gravy
so thick and velvety I wanted to play
with it, mash it into the palm of my left hand.

He offered cathead biscuits before
school on dark January days after the
Christmas hangover. It was almost enough.

How did a barrel-chested man learn
this magic? Softened like golden butter
in a dizzy aftermath, he did too many wars perhaps.

Did you ever kill someone I asked him.
He never looked me in the eye to say one way
or another. It was cold like a scrambled yesterday.

He hugged me like it mattered on Monday
mornings as he led me, hand on shoulder, out
into the world. I felt his skin all day.

Copyright Dorroh 2023