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Frank Reardon

A Letter to My Daughter

I'm not going to glorify it.
There's nothing of note to bring it all in
as something only the strong
and courageous consume.
Truth is, I've never been
able to handle it properly.
Too many times I woke up
without memory,
the earth's heart once pumping,
now shattered
upon the ground; by my own
hand, by my own
fatal wallet and need to be seen
as more than I actually am.
There are years of stories,
some humor's ax,
others: the soaking of marrow
underneath the broken land.
If I could tell you what it's
like to wake up in jail,
break bones, hearts, and say things
that are not in your head,
I'd tell you to stay away.
I'd tell you to stay strange,
soul-rich, and daylight galaxy.
What I fear more than death's knock
is that you will discover your gene
and marry too young. And not
to a man, woman, or a dream,
but to a bottle of whiskey.
The same bottle I married
when I was twelve.
The same bottle I've regretted
the last thirty years.
And there will be months, even
years, you'll be able to keep
away from it. Hide in beer. Hide in love.
Hide in heathen. Hide in weed.
Hide in art. Hide in music.
But it'll come back strong. It always does,
only next time with shovel and lantern,
upside the head for the dim light
you'll be running towards
for the rest of your life.
Daughter, I know you need
to experience life for yourself.
Believe me, I know better
than most how it feels
when the wind chimes of desperation,
releasing their songs of plague inside the stomach. 

Frank Reardon was born in 1974 in Boston, Massachusetts, and currently lives in Minot, North Dakota. Frank has published poetry and short stories in many reviews, journals and online zines. His first poetry collection, Interstate Chokehold, was published by NeoPoiesis Press in 2009 as well as his second poetry collection Nirvana Haymaker in 2012. His third poetry collection Blood Music was published by Punk Hostage Press in 2013. In 2014 Reardon published a chapbook with Dog On A Chain Press titled The Broken Halo Blues. Frank is currently working on more short fiction, and building a novel. 

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