A Poem for My Father on the Seventh Month of His Sobriety | Chapter and Verse | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

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A Poem for My Father on the Seventh Month of His Sobriety

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Do you know
octopuses can change color,
raise ripples across their skin to mimic kelp,
skim the ocean floor like flounder,
fit through spaces as small as their beaked mouths?
They are the ocean's best impressionists, talented escapists
just like you are earth's best fat green caterpillar
constantly being reborn from self-spun cocoons,
spreading, beating new wings
white and thin as the pages of Genesis.  

Know this:

I believe that spinning and beating is how you survived
the smoky bars, the death of your business,
your marriage, the drug addiction,
those summers after your strokes
when you couldn't ride roller coasters,
the daughters who hated you
more than the mother who beat you.  

Don't listen to those born with only one skin,
adaptation is not weakness
you are no chameleon, blending in
you have accounted for your sins.

— Caley Ferguson

Caley Ferguson graduated from West Virginia Wesleyan College with a BA in English Literature and minors in Creative Writing and Gender Studies. She served as poetry editor for two years with the WVWC literary journal, The Vandalia, where her work was also published. Her work as previously appeared in Pittsburgh's City Paper and Voices from the Attic. She lives in Morningside. Many writers featured in Chapter & Verse are guests of Prosody, produced by Jan Beatty and Ellen Wadey. Prosody airs every Saturday morning on 90.5 FM.

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