Derrick Weston Brown: Poet of the Week

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At the VA

The man who shares
a room with my father
titters and jerks
under the covers of
his bed.

His hair is wet and silver
corn silk slivers against the
pillow. He dances under those
sheets like a thick cut
piece of bacon on a
skillet lacquered with grease.

He calls for his Mama.

This scares me and I watch
him from my chair where
I sit with Daddy.

Daddy barely notices.
I’m scratching the back
of his head, applying
lotion to his scalp
because his hands
don’t work.

I turn away from the man
in the bed who moans
“Cover me”
“Cover me”

And I don’t know if
this is meant for
the mother
or platoon
he keens foras his dream caught
legs churn his sheets
into white cloth froth.

I focus on Daddy’s scalp
and make this ritual my
sole duty. I watch his
eyes close. His creased
brow smooth. This is my
way I bring Daddy home
from war.

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