poetry A Rhyme of Two Fathers
A Rhyme of Two Fathers
By Jed Myers
I wait in the TSA Pre✓ line,
dark blue USA passport in hand.
Tomorrow my love and I will land
in Milan. We’ll see Jesus dine
with his friends through Leonardo’s
miracle screen on a convent wall.
Meanwhile, another man, tall
and thin-boned as I, drifts in a bardo
on the Mexican side of the river,
waiting for dark. He’ll cross the water
into a next life, joining his daughter
his son his wife. The rosary shivers
as his fingers work bead to bead.
His eyes are brown, like mine.
His dark hair’s gone silver as mine
at the temples. His shaving cuts bleed
an identical red. My sweetheart and I
shuffle nearer the uniformed man
who’ll wave us on through the scan
to our long night’s flight. As we fly
the river-watcher will be burning
to enter the murk, his resolute silence
the absolute opposite of the violence
he’s left behind. There’s no turning
back. That life’s drenched in death.
We’ll ponder the troubled Disciples,
while my double crawls past rifles
aimed in the night at stopping his breath
should his river-wet cheek but shimmer,
should he leak one bit of that radiance
lit in his chest. His slink the cadence
of snake, he makes himself dimmer,
gray as late dusk paints the shade
under the brush. He could be fresh dead
as we view the fresco, an infrared
scope catching the heat he’s made
and him in the dirt on the Texas side.
Or will my twin play ghost so well
he slips through the ICE-men’s last veil,
visible only when he need not hide?
Sounds unlikely as bread and wine
become the living body and blood.
But my brother’s feet in the mud
in the river, oh, those could be mine.
Jed Myers lives in Seattle. A writer of poems since childhood, he began seeking publication after the events of 9/11/01. He is author of Watching the Perseids (Sacramento Poetry Center Book Award) and The Marriage of Space and Time (MoonPath Press, forthcoming). Recent honors include The Southeast Review’s Gearhart Prize and The Tishman Review’s Edna St. Vincent Millay Prize. Recent poems can be found in Rattle, Poetry Northwest, Southern Poetry Review, The Greensboro Review, Terrain.org, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Solstice, Canary, and elsewhere. He is Poetry Editor for the journal Bracken.