the ghostline

Imagine a big man, the kind you find

in the district of the upper hand


and you’ll know my father. You’ve met him

on the ghostline, walking into rooms before you,


taking stock. The taste of cigarettes,

his mouth in mine,


the smoke I peel off with my clothes

to find the shyness where my body waits


in photographs, in mirrors.

His bigness in the frame cropped close as hair,


more comfortable with cars and laughing women,

the camera breathing out the fuel of nicotine.


His maleness looked so good on him

I knew I couldn’t try it on myself.