My Father’s Back

My father’s back was an untrue friend
Hunched and lonely
Bowing to its master money; no, not looking over me
That way, not this, did it bend
Scars from the father and the sun I saw there only
The road calls this hunch back to the road opposite me

I can see it now, tinged with a glint of sun
Hot with wear
I know a eulogy should pour out of me
But I’m at a loss for words but one:
Why? It must have been hard for him to care
Despite the wreckage of fatherhood, I see

My own back is curved
Sore to touch
Its frame is sold as is, no returns
But my love does not know what she doesn’t deserve
I don’t turn on her much
We take our shoes off and let the sun burn

Now, come into the light you crooked back
Gnarled and mean
Let Him who heals stitch your frame
A hard hit on the bottom may mend the cracks
Freedom or confinement – there is no in between
You’re hunched and lonely, but you can change your name


I’m a Father. I’m a Son.

The 3 A.M. Epiphany is an ongoing series. Over time I’m tackling Brian Kiteley’s book The 3 A.M. Epiphany: Uncommon Writing Exercises That Transform Your Fiction. Check out my other pieces in this series.

This exercise read, “Create a brief fragment of an epiphany, a moment beyond words, beyond explaining, in which a character sees the necessity of change. 300 words”

Here goes.


Depending on who I’m talking to, I either want the Fifth Commandment revered or obliterated from Moses’ tablet.

See, I want my daughter, Isabel to honor me, but I don’t want to have to do the same with my own parents. That’s all. I’m not being selfish, though. I wasn’t raised right – they don’t deserve it.

But, a conversation she and I had earlier has shaken me.

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