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C.N.P Poetry 

  • Writer's pictureCathexis Northwest Press


By: Daniel Lyew

My father and I sat on the porch

Drinking scotch and talking as night fell

And the heat of the day rolled back

To a slow simmer. Mosquitoes alighted on the both of us.

I swatted at them, but he,

He sat still as if they weren’t even there.

He refilled my tumbler and then topped off his own.

There are so many times, he said, I came about this close

(His thumb and forefinger held apart

By the width of a piece of paper)

To dying.

Desert Storm.

Jamaican slums.

I remember this one time

When I was kid,

I tried to make a necklace

Out of a live round, thirty-aught-six.

When I tried to punch a hole through it,

With hammer and nail,


(He slammed his glass down on the table between us,

A little scotch welling up over the side of the glass)

The damn thing went off right in front of me.

I fell back on my ass,

Hollering, feeling around myself. But,

I didn’t feel any blood. Just sweat.

He drained his tumbler.

What do you think that means?

He leaned forward and solemnly stared at me

As if his whole life depended

On my answer.

I don’t know, I said.

His solemnity dissolved into laughter,

And, leaning back, he said,

C’mon philosopher, c’mon!

He poured himself a little more and took a sip.

I don’t know either, he said. I don’t know.


Daniel Lyew is an MFA poetry student at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. He received his BA in philosophy and mathematics from Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minnesota. He has lived in Arlington, Virginia; Moscow, Russia; Monterey, Mexico; Beijing, China; and London, England. He has worked as a human resources assistant for the US Embassy, London; a groundskeeper for the same institution; and as a meat-packer and vendor for EcoFriendly Foods.


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