The Father, Son and Unholy Ghosts by Essex Hemphill
We are not always the bravest sons our fathers dream. Nor do they always dream of us. We don’t always recognize him if we have never seen his face. We are suspicious of strangers. Question: is he the one?
Grief is not apparel. Not like a dress, a wig or my sister’s high-heeled shoes. It is darker than the man I love who in my fantasies comes for me in a silver, six-cylinder chariot. I walk the waterfront/curbsides in my sister’s high-heeled shoes. Dreaming of him, his name still unknown to my tongue. While I wait for my prince to come, from every other man I demand pay for my kisses. I buy paint for my lips. Stockings for my legs. My own high-heeled slippers and dresses that become me. When he comes, I know I must be beautiful. I will know how to love his body. Standing out here on the waterfront/curbsides
I have learned to please a man. He will bring me flowers. He will bring me silk and jewels, I know. While I wait, I’m the only man who loves me. They call me “Star” because I listen to dreams and wishes. But grief is darker. It is a white dress that covers my body. It is a wig that does not rest gently on my head.