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from the June 2020 issue

Letter to the Father

In echoes of the Kafka text from which this poem takes its name, a queer man longs to confront his homophobic father for a lifetime of injury in this poem by Berlin-based writer and artist Ricardo Domeneck.


Now that my lord
more closely resembles a hunk
of meat with two eyes
turned toward the dark ceiling
from the gurney where likely
you will not die alone
only because not even able
to swallow your saliva
yourself in the company
of this tube alone
that feeds you
I ask myself
if mother's ban
against confessing
to my lord the amorous habits
of my mucous membranes
is still in place
and if indeed you would love me
the less you knew about
how much rubbing they'd already had
that did not befit them
biological or religious
-ly and also if
you would want for your boyess
the death you wished
on so many of my kind
when they appeared on screen
on Globo Record
Manchete or SBT
which always constituted
your umbilical connection
to tradition
and if indeed you would
make come upon them
great destruction
by the violence
of your raging slurs
typical of a macho man
born in a remote town
in this country of machos
remote and broken
in their false pride
believing that a father
is he who crams
refrigerators full and does
not let the table want for
food to nourish
the same mucous membranes
in which your blood
but not your God
runs thick
and now in this broken gurney
your brain all veins
like rivulets bent on
running
outside the lines
if my lord
knew how
I'd stained
the patriarchs'
table
with deceit
I still ask myself
if you would welcome
me as meekly
as you accept a kiss
on the forehead from
your boyess
who is nothing more
than your own image
and likeness inverted
a mirror such
as reflects opposites
of gender and religion
or the cartoon
from my childhood
of a Hall of Justice
where on a screen
you could watch
a world gone wrong
and if the Father and father
indeed scorn
one created by the norms
of Biology and Religion
yet later corrected
after flaunting the laws
the Father and the father
impose on us in the science
of being all of us flawed
on this Earth where procreating
is so common
it brings pleasure
not at all and I look at
my lord
with these pupils
that maybe never
reflect the Father
but now see the father
I
also a hunk
of meat
with two eyes
ask forgiveness
in silence
for at least I can
say there is
no more time
and nevertheless
and even still
and although
and yet
for conflicted fear
of possibly shaking
a rudimentary system
of foundation
holding up this house
holding up this room
holding up this borrowed
hospital
bed
I once again
choose
silence


"Carta ao pai" © Ricardo Domeneck. By arrangement with the author. Translation © 2020 by Hilary Kaplan. All rights reserved.

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