Winter 2010

Table of Contents - Vol. VI, No. 4

Poetry Fiction NonFiction Reviews

Brandon Haffner

First Christmas After Grandpa Dies

The fire is cracking.
The microwave is going,
heating leftover bean soup.
Grandma stops knitting. A pie
on the vibrating microwave
starts slipping. It hits
the floor. Chocolate cream
a mural on the cabinets.

Second Christmas After Grandpa Dies

There is a man in my closet who looks like me
dressed in a new Brooks Brothers suit and he
will go down the stairs and eat breakfast
before I wake up. He'll choose Apple Jacks,
and before you know it the Apple Jacks
will disappear. Later I'll open a box
under a Christmas tree. It'll read, To Brandon,
from Man In The Suit. I'll unwrap
Apple Jacks—I'll get to the bottom
of the box, where the toy is, and I'll tell you
now the man in the Brooks Brothers suit
will look dreadfully familiar, and I'll know
everything there is to know
about eating Apple Jacks.

My Father's Throwing Tomahawk

It leans against the bedroom wall as if
it has more than a right to be there; the marks
on the handle aren't tattoos or battle wounds,
but deep wrinkles that come with all things
left to grow old—an apple on the table in summer
I forgot to put away, there for the sun
to consume through kitchen windows.

The hatchet's blade, thinner now, is cool grey
and not silver, as it must have been when my father
first clutched it in his calloused hands, and threw it
end over end, until the blade knifed its way
through thick bark and into the pulpy white of an oak tree,
deep in dark Michigan woods in winter with his own father
who had a tomahawk of his own, one that now is lost,
buried under dirt and leaves at some past camping ground,
and is not here to rest in my bedroom behind this desk,
beside my father's. Instead my father's leans alone, and
I think it leans as would some old man who might have been
my father, and if that wall is my bony white shoulder,
he might be finding his balance, barely breathing at the end
of life, an ancient menace in his eyes
when he asks aloud, what kind of hunter was I
who threw this blade into the defenseless flesh
of trees?

© Brandon Haffner

Poetry Fiction NonFiction Reviews

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