Once my father, a real boy, stole
his ball home, burned ants

under glass, put his fist
through a window, cracked

his head in two against the steering column.
Once my father was boundless.

Balloons in his mouth, bare
bursting and bashful pink, lungs to climb

a universe. Then he was grey dust
willing itself to die.

Once my father was myself
years before I was utterance

on his tongue. Once my father, painted coyote,
carried me
                  on his shoulders, nourished me

grinned and tore
my silver voice from my throat.