Volume 25, Number 4

Praise Song

The only correspondence I receive
from my father is Republican chainmail

asking me to protect the rights of white men
with families to bear arms and evade taxes,

jabs begging me to banter back standard lines
about violence and hunger of people he can’t see

from his yard. Praise my backward father
for never keeping a gun in the house the years

I was a hangman waiting for some cocktail
of pills to guess my name right. Praise

the WIC forms he must have signed to grow
my baby brother into his baseball-swagger body.

Praise the lines at DHS. Praise unemployment
checks, the late night cab that drove years off his life.

Praise his insane loyalty because it must be
a kind of love. How else could a man stand

in a tornado and praise God for making
the summer breeze that cooled his neck

as a child? Praise this love that rants Limbaugh
just to hear any noise back from his daughter.

—Stevie Edwards