Dear Dad – Emily Gates

I’m 14 when I learn why
they say men are dogs.
I’m playing mobile Tetris
on your phone when
the screen lights up
text message interruptus:

“Hey slut, u still workin? ;)”

Tetris ticks to quick pic:
a woman, legs wide V,
mouth wider O,
cock buried deep
in spoilt roast beef.
That’s not my mom.

I bet your boy sniffed this one
out real good. How is Sherry
by the way? And Ashley?
What about Jim? Frank?
Do you still do business
in Austin? And New York?

They your Pavlov?
Bet they can
make your boy
bark, salivate, come.
Bet your meetings are
always stiff and quick.

I bet you’d bout die,
if I called you Daddy
the way they do.
If I sent you a pic
of my ass, flat and white
like our front yard in December.

You’d howl if it were me
waiting for a turn
in a musty motel
called the Krystal Palace,
such regality reduced
to sound-stages where
sock-footed others stand
erect, bare everywhere else.
Or backed into a corner by
Linda and her sagging cellulose.
her cottage cheese thighs,
stretch marks crisscross and red.


Don’t worry,
no one knows I know you,
or how your fucking mutt,
roots through cod carcass
for his next bitch to mount,
how they lap up the salt
of the Earth
that made me.

Emily GatesEmily Gates is currently a postgraduate student at the University of Kent in Canterbury, England. Born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, she is deeply inspired by the bravery of the Confessional movement and considers herself an amateur Plath scholar. She is currently working on her first collection of poems.