My Father Teaches

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During a movie
concerning dying dogs
and red plants
I glanced at my father
and noticed a tear 
on his cheek.
I blushed ashamed, 
embarrassed, jealous
of his freedom.

Somehow he knew
my judgment, my intention.
A primal impulse
turned his head towards mine.
I lowered my eyes,
unclenched my fist
a cowardly motion,
my hands open 
fingers biting into my knees.

Half way to the car
he flat palmed me from behind
left fire across my face.

He knew what I had wanted to do
and he’d taught me 
to control my emotions
so, I had that one coming. 

About Josh Gaines

Josh Gaines is a Portland based author, and is the editor in chief of Thoughtcrime Press. He earned his Writing MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2013. His fiction was most recently published in London's, Dark Mountain. You can find his book of poems and flash fiction, Cigarette Sonatas, at View all posts by Josh Gaines

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