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Punch-in-the-face poetry showcases poems that leave you sore, gasping, and possibly embarrassed.  They make you feel like you've got something to prove. They bring you out swinging.

Monday June 18, 2012
"How Do We Forgive Our Fathers?," Dick Lourie and Sherman Alexie


How do we forgive our Fathers?
Maybe in a dream
Do we forgive our Fathers for leaving us too often or forever
when we were little?

Maybe for scaring us with unexpected rage
or making us nervous
because there never seemed to be any rage there at all.

Do we forgive our Fathers for marrying or not marrying our Mothers?
For Divorcing or not divorcing our Mothers?

And shall we forgive them for their excesses of warmth or coldness?
Shall we forgive them for pushing or leaning
for shutting doors
for speaking through walls
or never speaking
or never being silent?

Do we forgive our Fathers in our age or in theirs
or their deaths
saying it to them or not saying it?

If we forgive our Fathers what is left?

* This poem is read during the last scene in Smoke Signals. It was 
originally published in a longer version titled “Forgiving Our 
Fathers” in a book of poems titled Ghost Radio published by Hanging 
Loose Press in 1998

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