Here’s a Love Poem to My Father

I found it in the glove compartment
nestled in its own yearning, something
worse than lust, something I, myself, might have
written. That I am writing to you now: I was always
afraid of you. Your angry grieving. Your stomping
of the house. And night-moaning. And frightening
the dog. I was always afraid of
ruin. So that once I took a report card
and changed the fearful thing from D to B,
a dissection. Botched it, of course,
slashed a line through the heart of it
and decidedly stole into the nighttime storm lissomely
as dirt. I am always running away
to return, shoving my body deep into this mess
of blackness. Treading back to the house
and spying on you, alone, working
at the dishes in the kitchen, your hands softening
in the stream. You were always so
compassionate. So when you interrupted
my eight p.m. cartoons, your hair dripping with the outside
rain like Indiana Jones, I wondered what it was
you’d been trying to save. And when you held my
ink-streaked note to the sky and asked What is this?
I might have answered that it was my first love poem
and might have led you to the other room
to nurse the storm from your body.

Darius Atefat-Peckham

Darius Atefat-Peckham is an Iranian-American poet and essayist. His work has appeared in Indiana Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Texas Review, The Chattahoochee Review, Brevity, Crab Orchard Review and elsewhere. His work has appeared in numerous anthologies, including My Shadow is My Skin: Voices from the Iranian Diaspora (University of Texas Press). Atefat-Peckham lives in Huntington, West Virginia and studies Creative Writing at Harvard College.

Contributions by Darius Atefat-Peckham