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The Patriarch

by Michael Barach

No one listens to him anymore,
if anyone ever did. He is a body
flopping in the front seat of the car,
a cross-armed guard protecting his family
from little sparrows blown about the yard.
Where is he to go when his wife’s sisters
are drunk and phoning men they’ve left on the altar?
Channel changer, memorizer of newspapers,
O he’ll crush your hand shaking it.
Sunday is cold. He scrambles eggs in a pan.
There are still fusses to be made over him.
When his wife snores into the sagging mansion
of his face and kisses it in her sleep, it’s his weight
that keeps the bed from flying into space.

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