Gris-Gris, an online journal of literature, culture & the arts

Fading Fathers

by Donney Rose

Every other Saturday
we are here
brushing out the patterns
of new growth
and the razor lining
that lost the sharp
it had just two weeks prior
the symphonic buzz
of Wahl clippers
and fragrance of isopropyl alcohol
can be torturous
when you are waiting
to be made fresh again
but we know that
the wait is a part
of the ritual
so we wait
and shoot the shit

and our talks often
shape into debates
and our volumes
fade in and out
of audibility depending on
who is the most animated speaker
and onyx kinks
fall from rows of
opinionated heads
and we all got
something to say
‘bout, who’s the best emcee
or who’s the hottest chick
in the videos
and what pair of Js
were the freshest
and we compare cars
and sexual conquests
and slap fives
and talk loud
and hold our baby boys
in our laps, steady

so that they can
get fresh too

And our baby boys
remind us of us
as baby boys
and the 5 o’clock shadow daddies
we have shaved
from our memories
we don’t debate much ‘bout
who had the best daddy
who daddy was candidate
for father of the year
aint much I bet my daddy
loved my mama
more than yo daddy
loved yo mama

We hold our sons close
as the barber
makes them portrait worthy
and remember
how most of us
came to know
of this weekend ritual
through the same fathers
who tapered off
when the edges
they were holding on to
became too unmanageable
and we are as indifferent
about their absence
as the scalp is
about the vanish of hair

they loved us enough
to make sure
we were well-groomed
at some point
those faded photos
with our fathers
made handsome due to
their efforts

we high five our sons
when they hop out ‘
the chair
and gaze at their
beauty with stay
in our eyes
we know that it
doesn’t always
work out that way
that this is the inheritance
we leave them
when our stay
becomes as likely as
fallen hairs avoiding
a dust pan
and they don’t always
get to know
how hard it was
to avoid