Two Poems by David M. Taylor


I carry the bones of my father
and the blood etched into his history,
but I try to forget the responsibility
that comes with his face.

I drink cheap wine instead
until the room spins
and I pass out next to my wife.

It’s easier to bury the fact
he had a son no one knew about,
to let the truth rot in the ground
covered by dirt and time
than to figure out how this changes
the memory of a man
who taught me how to shave.

It’s simpler this way,
though my therapist disapproves
and wants to me to work through
the meaning of it all.

But I drink cheap wine instead
until the room spins
and I pass out next to my wife,
where her soft arms quiet me at night.


VHS Tapes

I catch myself wanting
to call my father
who died five months ago,
right after his body swelled
and his left arm went dead.

His breath still lingers,
and for a brief moment,
I forget that he’s been cremated,
his ashes rest in a box
on a shelf in my basement.

I still don’t know what to do
with the taped-up cardboard,
but I give false promises
to his neighbors and friends
who want a memorial of some kind.

I tell them I’ll scatter his ashes
in Wisconsin after the snow melts
and the land is no longer flooded—
hoping this will appease their judgement
for which they know nothing about.

Until then, the box rests next to VHS tapes
and the jacket that still holds his scent,
where I’m forever surrounded by his memory.

David M. Taylor’s work has appeared in various magazines such as Albany Poets, Califragile, Misfit Magazine, Philosophical Idiot, Rat’s Ass Review, and Trailer Park Quarterly. He was also a finalist for the 2017 Annie Menebroker Poetry Award, and his most recent poetry chapbook, Growing up Black, was published by CWP Collective Press.