Upon Visiting my Father

by David Walker

Dave, I’m worried about your soul,
my father tells me. For his sake
I pretend I’m not my own man,

that I still hang on his every word,
that I’m still peering at the chocolate
bars – the counter up to my nose –

pleading That one! He says I need
to go to church more, asks how else will
I know the Lord? I can’t say my girlfriend’s

mom knew the Lord well when
she took belt and fist to her own daughter
for years. Years later I was sitting on front

porches trying to glue back
pieces of my girlfriend like shattered lamp
and every Sunday her mother would

cross her fingers from her head to her chest
to her shoulders like that holy water was an iodine
soaked dishrag, a puddle of bleach and a

squeegee. My father passes a book
across the table, For you and your
girlfriend. Tells you how to maintain

a loving Christian relationship. He spills
coffee on his third wedding band and jumps
up to grab a napkin. I think to myself:

Thou shall not cheat on your wife
while visiting relatives in Ohio.
I tell him I’ll read the book.

David Walker is in the throes of wedding planning, teaching several composition classes, and writes to stave off the assured coming of dementia. People who have enjoyed his work before enough to fill up space with his writing are the editors of these fine magazines: The Corner Club Press, Mouse Tales Press, Drunk Monkeys, Stoneboat, and others.