The Innisfree Poetry Journal
by Brad Bisio
Aunt Sophie told me about that
time in the basement when
you waited for grandma
in blackness with a metal pipe,
next to twelve
empty brandy bottles.
We weren't permitted to ask
Why did you paint only Asian women?
How many did you love?
How many Japanese did you kill
with that pistol in your top drawer?
Maybe the war would explain why you left your family
when my mother was a child.
Maybe it would explain why you came back,
worked that foreman job at Tow-Motor,
drank yourself stupid,
never painted again.
I know more about you now
than when you were alive.
What does this mean for my life
as a father,
Only clues remain:
my mother, absent from your funeral,
and me in your basement,
playing pool in the dark,
trying to understand the angles.
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