Martin Cathrae CC
My father used to work in the mines when I was little
Salt mines, mostly.
He would bring my brother and I
Chunks of soft, pink rocks
That I would press my tongue to
Like a curious fawn.
My father traveled the country, once.
He loved the Badlands and Louisiana.
“I lived in New Orleans”
He told me.
His car broke down so he worked as a carnie
Until he had made the money to fix it.
Like Johnny Cash
He’d been everywhere.
It was so hard for me to imagine my father,
Jumping from state to state
Because he lived in the same place
For most of his life, now,
Along with his entire family.
Most of which I barely knew.
But I loved to imagine him skating through the country
On water that was once frozen for him.
Sometimes when I was little, I imagined my father as a grave digger,
Salted ground and upper lip, everything still and quiet around him
With no one to talk to except for the earth and the hidden things.
Some searched for and some never to be looked at again;
I have lived with him playing both roles:
I, too, have talked only to the hidden things.
Once my father brought me a chunk of fool’s gold
From the mines—taught me the word “Pyrite.”
I asked, “how do you know it’s fake?”
I held it up to my eye imagining it to be a periscope into another world.
I don’t remember at all what he told me,
About how he knew--
But as he sat down beside me he said:
“Isn’t it wonderful how it shines almost exactly like the real thing?”
Sarah Morris Shux (she/her) is a poet, screenwriter and short story writer currently living in Los Angeles with her very loud Siamese cat, King Tut. She enjoys obsessing over ghost stories, roller skating, stress baking and spending too much money on vinyl records and weird, antique tchotchkes. Find her words published in Sledgehammer Lit, Not Deer Magazine, Superfroot and on Medium. Find her on social media: @awwshux on Instagram and @MsShux on Twitter
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