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Kevin Ridgeway

The Last Time I Saw My Father's Face


My father
was bearded
and zoned out
on psychiatric medication
he could not pronounce
behind the glass from us
in county jail,
where he awaited trial.
He and my mother
argued over
why he did what he did
until he could only
slur insane gibberish. 
The guards treated us
so much like shit
we could still smell it
on the drive home,
when we both agreed
never to visit my father
in jail or prison again. 
Neither of my parents
were there when I got
locked up in the same
madhouse that swallowed
my father whole,
but it choked on me
and spit me out
in a demented miracle
no one prayed for but me.


Kevin Ridgeway is the author of Too Young to Know (Stubborn Mule Press) and nine chapbooks of poetry including Grandma Goes to Rehab (Analog Submission Press, UK). His work can recently be found in Slipstream, Chiron Review, Nerve Cowboy, Plainsongs, San Pedro River Review, The Cape Rock, Trailer Park Quarterly, Main Street Rag, Cultural Weekly and The American Journal of Poetry, among others. He lives and writes in Long Beach, CA.



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