A small improvised explosive device,
it went right through me, but I didn’t feel
a thing. When the plucked pin missed the fabric,
how could I move? I was boot-black careful.
“Stand up straight,” whispered Father as quiet
as tripwire. He ground his teeth, bone-army,
as another line was sketched where my
body should have been. “Sorry, he isn’t
built right,” Father told the tailor. All tots
know to stand like their dads in old war shots.
The tailor drew more hemlines, pinned new seams.
In the mirror, Father ordered me to lean
up straighter. I was a map—the lesson
of some conquered country. I’m no one’s son.
Tommye Blount currently lives in Novi, Michigan—thirty minutes northwest of his hometown of Detroit. A graduate from Warren Wilson College’s MFA Program for Writers, he has been the recipient of fellowships and scholarships from Cave Canem and the Bread Loaf Wrtiers’ Conference. He is currently at work on his first manuscript.