Before David Ricardo stabbed his daddy
sixteen times with a fork — Once
for every year of my fuckwad life — he’d long
showed signs of being bent.
In school, he got no valentine nor birthday
cake embellished with his name.
On Halloween, a towel tied around his neck
was all he had to be a hero with.
He spat in the punchbowl and smelled like a foot.
His forehead was a ledge
he leered beneath. When I was sent to tutor him
in geometry, so he might leave
(at last) ninth grade, he sat running pencil lead
beneath his nails.
If radiance shone from those mudhole eyes,
I missed it. Thanks, David
for your fine slang. You called my postulates
post holes ; your mom endured
ferocious of the liver . Plus you ignored —
when I saw you wave at lunch —
my flinch. Maybe by now you’re ectoplasm,
or the zillionth winner of the Texas
death penalty sweepstakes. Or you occupy
a locked room with a small
round window held fast by rivets, through which
you are watched. But I hope
some organism drew your care — orchid
or cockroach even, some inmate
in a wheelchair whose steak you had to cut
since he lacked hands.
In this way, the unbudgeable stone
that plugged the tomb hole
in your chest could roll back, and in your sad
slit eyes could blaze
that star adored by its maker.
- Mary Karr