portion of the artwork for Damian Caudill's poetry
In Florida
Damian Caudill

Your father left when you were 9 in the way fathers always leave,
with a woman named Lisa who loves Toni Braxton
and is still in a stage of lingering beauty enough
to make you think she is probably ex-famous.
Which is still more famous than you or anyone you know other than Chris Knox
who died for two whole minutes from a not fully swallowed jawbreaker.
So Lisa takes your dad and they become mysteries who don’t call and don’t write letters
and you almost forget them because your mother never says his name,
But she does squirm when Lisa Simpson comes on TV.
She does say “overrated” when someone references Mona Lisa and her lack of a smile.
And that’s how youíve thought of it all of these years.

So when a guy named Dale calls and lets you know your father hasn’t made his payments
in 4 years on a storage container in Ft. Lauderdale
you don’t really care.
And then he says it is yours now and you care a little more.
But it isnít until your younger brother David says
“We should go get it”
that you even really think about it,
that you even want it.
David who is not even old enough to remember Greg’s face
or how Greg would read too mature things to you before bed,
Angela’s Ashes and One Hundred Years of Solitude.

David wants it and maybe somebody somewhere owes him that much.
So you think you can spare the Tuesday and take him out of school.
Let him sit up front and mess with the radio dial and sleepy drivers in the other lane
who do not know whether to smile or scowl at a kid blowing his steam onto the window,
tracing sharks and dropless clouds with his fingertips.

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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 33 | Summer 2011