What a Son Owes His Father

poetry 0
Joshua Coben


is left unsaid
though his features speak it
and the color of his voice,
his choices.

He carries his father
unsteadily, as once
his father hoisted him
high onto the crags
of his shoulders

or lay on the floor to lift
him with his legs,
balancing the boy’s belly
on the soles of his broad feet

and the boy, soaring
midair, felt how
his flight was bought

and how precarious the weight
his father bore
to keep him there.

Joshua Coben’s second collection, Night Chaser (David Robert Books, 2020), was a finalist for the Vassar Miller Prize, the New American Poetry Prize, and the Donald Justice Poetry Prize. His first book, Maker of Shadows (Texas Review Press, 2010), won the X. J. Kennedy Poetry Prize.