by Amorak Huey
—a hot dog, excitedly, on a T-shirt my kids gave me for Father’s Day
My eyes are failing me for the first time—
there is a distance at which words are too close
to read. Is this the beginning of the end
of being able to lie to myself? Or, the body’s
way of suggesting there are things I’m better off
not knowing. Once, a few summers
after high school, some friends and I
went to Florida without telling another
friend we were going. He found out
by calling all of our homes every day
until someone’s mother broke. I should
probably feel bad about it still, but it
sounds worse than it was. Or it’s worse
than it sounds, I can’t remember which.
He should have left it alone, but that’s
not realistic. We can’t stand not to know.
A nice day. A decent meal. The company of others.
It’s all we really want, in the end, a few
such moments during our time in this world.
That’s why so many commercials
are set on patios and back decks,
twilight and the clinking of glasses.
Laughter and a slow fade. It’s a lifestyle
they’re selling, we just need the right
products. The appearance of happiness
is happiness. This is the premise
of all those churches in the town
where I grew up. The image
of God is God. The declaration
of salvation is salvation. Who
wouldn’t want to share the good news?
The phone rings. It’s an invitation. Tell the others.
Amorak Huey, a 2017 National Endowment for the Arts Fellow, is author of the poetry collections Ha Ha Ha Thump (Sundress, 2015) and Boom Box (Sundress, forthcoming in 2019) as well as the chapbooks The Insomniac Circus (Hyacinth Girl, 2014) and A Map of the Farm Three Miles from the End of Happy Hollow Road (Porkbelly, 2016). He is also co-author with W. Todd Kaneko of the forthcoming textbook Poetry: A Writer’s Guide and Anthology (Bloomsbury, 2018) and teaches writing at Grand Valley State University in Michigan.