What my father says:

boy, don’t breathe by cemeteries, something might crawl in (1)


quit eating          like that: a pig (2)


you spend so much time in your room, must be a meth lab (3)


you’re quiet (4)


(1) actually, i fear your dead self will leave you, emerging head
first from your throat, and planting itself in graveyard soil. i see your lust for wet earth.
your tongue /severed,                and writhing in the dirt.

(2) a bathtub,        the first serpent. you didn’t think i saw         you        in the kitchen
raise an urn to your lips.

(3) i’m familiar with this kind of alchemy: a blood offering. melt the blade down to coins. bathe each piece in ichor. tuck the wet toll beneath your eyelids.
yes, dear son, the ferryman will come.

(4) child, what more do you want from me? a parade? a new orleans funeral? a carpet soaked with you, red, running right through the ground?  i can’t play god in either direction. i can’t pull the spells from your mouth.

(5) there are no poems left. come back to me or don’t…it is out of my red hands.

About the Author

Jackson Neal is a poet and spoken word artist from Houston,Texas. Neal proudly represents Clutch City as a member of Meta-Four Houston: one of the top seven youth poetry slam teams in the world. He is also the 2017 Space City Grand Slam Champion. Under the mentorship of Emanuelee “Outspoken” Bean and Houston’s Poet Laureate, Deborah “D.E.E.P.” Mouton, Neal has performed to thousands across the United States. His work has been published in writing and video by the Houston Chronicle.