ON THE DAY MY HUSBAND IS ASSUMED TO BE A FATHER
BY THE CLERK IN THE BIG & TALL MAN'S CLOTHING STORE
I had a coupon for a free polo shirt.
The clerk suggested the bright green & I said
I don’t think he’ll go for that. I chose navy blue
& she said well now your Father’s Day shopping is done,
that was cheap! I said, no, it’s for my husband.
She said, right.
Does Father’s Day make you sad? I asked him,
Not now, but it did when I was a kid & a younger man.
You mean back when you had that bad mustache?
Yeah. Maybe it wasn’t Father’s Day
that made you sad, I joke. Maybe it was the mustache.
I know what he means is I never had a Dad.
Then, The man who taught me how to be a man died.
I wasn’t pregnant long enough to be taught how
to be a mother. I forget nipple ache like one
forgets the sound of a dead person’s voice.
What do you forget? I don’t.
Sometimes when it gets too cold overnight
& I cup my breast, palm against turgid flesh,
it’s almost like it was when I curled fetal, fetus
still there. I know what he means is I only remember
it was the happiest we’ve ever been,
then the saddest.
Jennifer Jackson Berry is the author of the chapbooks When I Was a Girl (Sundress Publications) and Nothing But Candy (Liquid Paper Press). Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Booth, The Emerson Review, Harpur Palate, Moon City Review, and Whiskey Island, among others. She lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.