My stepfather could be kind

when his hidden demons

did not plague decisions I discerned.


A child can only analyze actions,

shadows reflecting the body,

motions to mimic, wrestling


with the waves causing callous

repercussions, creating chameleon

reactions from what my teen-vision


saw. I observed a man whose hands

painted mastery, Michelangelo’s student

touching his canvas, one could feel


a man’s face. I observed a man

whose voice was soulful enough,

a stranger debating marriage would


buy a wedding ring. I observed

when his hands weren’t moving,

when the theater was empty, echoes


rose of tales he kept to himself. Voices

from the demons that plagued him

gave him his vices, filling glasses,


rising temper, spreading anger,

drinking, puffing, smoking, choking

a life, stagnating work promotions,


taking shallow steps towards goals,

a peeled banana softened, blackened,

losing firm grounding around himself.


Maybe the pressure of military life

and death darkened visions from friends

never forgotten. Maybe the pressure


of social behaviors of blended family

caused misery. Maybe the pressure—

coming to his hometown after two-decades,


finding old friends, riding the same street

corners and blocks became his framework

to live. Maybe. I still may love him; his


decisions left my mother in an unmarked grave.


Mervyn R Seivwright

Mervyn R. Seivwright has appeared or has forthcoming published works in AGNI Literary Magazine, The Trinity Review, African American Review, Santa Fe Literary Review, Montana Mouthful Literary Magazine, iō Literary Journal, The Stirling Spoon, The Scribe Literary Journal, Flights Literary Journal, Rigorous Magazine, Prometheus Dreaming Cultural Journal, and Toho Journal. He has received recognition as Second-Runner-Up for Mount Island’s Lucy Terry Prince poetry contest, a Semi-Finalist for the Midwest Review’s Poetry Contest, Z Publishing’s Kentucky’s Best Emerging Poets 2019, and has a poem commissioned by the British Museum, Ipswich, United Kingdom. Mervyn holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Spalding University, Louisville KY. He is from Jamaican heritage, born in London, England while he currently lives in Schopp, Germany.

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