FIVE POEMS by CHASE PADUSNIAK

On Achieving Self-Consciousness at an Ohio Rest Stop

 

My calves, so thin,
Burst forth from
Limp tube socks of Laotian
Sweat.

Father! In your grease-stained
Bed sheet and paint-soaked
Denim diaper, New Balances
White.

Father! In your flannel bustier, chest hair
On fire with thoughts of my effeminacy
And how exactly one should banish
Grass.

Father! Your bald head gleams in the sun, even as
Your salt-and-paprika beard assures the McDonald’s
Cashier that, no matter what, you won’t scold him, not
Today.

My fathers turn
Toward me, little
Boy, and assuage
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