He grows a mustache and one sprouts
from my face, too.
He shaves it off,
and mine falls out. There’s a worn place
on my hand where his wedding ring sits,
a pale space for his watch on my thin wrist.
I cough his smoker’s cough.
Our eyes—same blue, same prescription.
My spine is stiff
in the place where he broke his back,
years before I was born.
Doctors tell me what I already know—
I have the neck of an 80-year-old.
When he dies
not all of me dies. In this way
the son’s body is only so reliant on the father’s.
My arteries are mine, my organs mine.
On the good days,
I think of him. On the bad days, I speak to him
out loud, my voice ringing
to his distant ears.
But when I step out of the shower,
the place where a chainsaw
cut wood too deeply
and into his thigh—a scar shines on my thigh,
the way all pain, in some way, is inherited.