It fit too tight, tailored too close,

like something you wear with your hands crossed,

lips sewn shut.

I didn’t want to wait, the way I believed

my father had.

He was clean, like Christ

was supposed to make us—

though I’d steal into his bathroom while

he worked the nightshift and rifle Playboys

out from under the sink.


It was a wonder to find

sex had less to do with me

than I’d thought; she

kicked aside the curtain, saw a red rose,

while I came early and watched her face.


Then I envied my father, I envied

my parents, their garden with no names

or even metaphors for skin,

the river between the trees.

Front page image is a composite image from martinak15 and qthomasbower.

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Chris Santiago

About the Author

Chris Santiago is a poet, fiction writer, and doctoral candidate in the English Department at the University of Southern California. His work has appeared in FIELD, Canteen, Pleiades, and elsewhere, including the anthology Verses Typhoon Yolanda (Meritage Press, 2014). Born and raised in the Twin Cities, he lives in Pasadena with his wife and two sons.
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