The back of my father’s hands marked
his seventeenth birthday when he discovered
hunger through winter meant exposing flesh to nature.
My father worked with men whose laced up
shoes matched the color of their uniforms–
I ask my father if he remembered
counting loose change during the
Depression: lugged house jacks and
pressed necks against damp cobwebs. He tells me
he cut hands against broken glass so he
would know how to cradle a baby.
My father, at twenty, skin peeled
and tanned mandarin, back arched
from dusk to dawn–like the solemn
old men who had nowhere to go, white
caps speckled in paint, necks
faintly dotted- stared for hours on end
as the walls were brushed, over and over,
until all the whites were covered.
JEFFREY ZOU is a rising junior who currently resides in Phoenix, Arizona. He enjoys writing poetry and listening to music. His favorite writer is Ocean Vuong.