4 August 2018

Saturn's Child, a poem by January Gill O'Neil

When my father snores
he sucks in the whole world
and releases it in one pure breath.
At night I’d come into his room
where he would pass out on the bed—
too drunk to change his clothes or
put out his cigarette, which had
burnt itself down to the embers. I pulled
off his shoes and watched him sleep,
smelling his sweet, stale breath
fill the room in waves. He was so out of it
I could put my finger into his mouth and pull it out
before he inhaled.
Once I let my finger linger a second
too long and his tongue touched the flat of my tip.
I thought of going in deeper, first a hand, then an arm;
the tender cutlet of my body swallowed whole by my
father. But I was barely enough to make him cough.
He rolled over on his side, leaving a well in the space
where his body had been. I crawled back into my own bed,
as my father slept the peaceful sleep of ogres, feeling
the house shake with his rhythmic tremors.

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January Gill O'Neil

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