The Boiler

Amanda Huynh

Before I was born

my  dad   died   in    an
accident    except      it
wasn’t an  accident at
least  that’s what   my
brother  says  he   was
twelve at the time but
he  said   my   dad  was
shot     in    the    fields
while  working  maybe
over           drugs        or
something    but   they
shot    him  then   they
turned  his  tractor  on
let    it   run    over   his
body       brother     said
there   were    a   lot  of
gashes   on   my   dad’s
face  too you could  see
them    at   the  funeral
service that’s  what  he
says  I  wasn’t   there  I
wasn’t   born    yet  but
there    are     nights    I
dream    those   gashes
feel     like     the    field
I  work  in    every   day

WHEN I ASK MY BROTHER ABOUT OUR DAD

             Like I told you

I don’t remember
                                          much. Our dad
              was just a mean man.
                                          If he wasn’t working,
he was drinking. The cerveza
                           bottle became his left hand.

              One time I tripped over his boots
                           as I stood up he hit me
against the wall,
                                          brushed his boots
off.
                            I lost my first tooth then.

When mom found out he had   another
                                        family—
                                                      she kicked him
                                                  out
               and when he asked if I wanted to go
with him
                            or stay,

                                        I stayed.

_____________________________________

Amanda Huynh is a native Texan living in Virginia. She attends the MFA Creative Writing Program at Old Dominion University. She was a finalist for the 2015 Gloria Anzaldúa Poetry Prize and recently was one of eight poets to receive an AWP 2016 Intro Journals Project Award. Her work is published or forthcoming in the following journals: Tahoma Literary Review, Muzzle Magazine, Huizache, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, and As/Us: Women of the World.