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by P.R. Mercado


My father is the kind of man to shout at you
just because you took the wrong road
at least the road that he's not used to
and is the kind of man who shouts at you
to tell him when you got home
because he gets worried sick
about his only son driving around
this expanded landfill of a city
in shorts and a loose shirt
his hair in such wanton disarray
that you think there is something 
supernatural and unkind about it
while he is in pristine garments
of white, gray, and brown
talking on an expensive mobile phone
he does not even know how to turn off.

My father is the kind of man
who comes into my bedroom 
at nine o' clock in the morning
to ask me if I have a hundred thousand pesos
in my bank account 
because he needs it
somehow for whatever reason

the kind of man to go to Starbucks
before it even opens
because he has to meet someone
and doesn't mind standing outside
for an hour or two
if it means being early

because my father is the kind of man
who requires of everyone
a modicum of propriety.

My father is the kind of man
who sits me down at the living room
one afternoon

because he noticed me 
shouting at my sister
after she took my car one morning
without even asking me,

the kind of man to say: 
“The problem with you, 
with everyone now,
is you think too highly of your shit

but guess what.
It stinks just as bad as mine
There's nothing special about it.”

The kind of man whose dream
is to go back to the countryside
when he is old enough
and no one will blame him
for abandoning his wife and children
so that he can plant sweet potatoes and rice
in the field of his brother who died 
two years ago
discovered behind the village square
covered in ants,

in whose funeral he cried
or so my mother said

because my father is the kind of man
to leave me alone
when I say I don't want to go to the funeral
of my uncle
the afternoon he died
because secretly I am meeting a boy
at a dinner I arranged with my friends.

My father is the kind of man 
who says, “When you grow up
what I want is a car.
You don't have to take care of me.
I want you to leave me alone
and get me a BMW,”
the kind of man
who brings out the fruits
during dinner
slices them slowly one by one
and then eats them all himself.
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