My Father Wears a Hawaiian Shirt to Die In

by Lannie Stabile

“My Father Wears a Hawaiian Shirt to Die In” was selected for THE BODY poetry longlist.

I don’t remember him
besides hide and seek,
a perfect pair
of slippers calling out,
as I titter beneath a crib.
But everyone weathered with
my blood says I was daddy’s girl.
I helped him fold and tuck.
A bed, laundry, the lining of
his casket.
He was patient
as the earth.
A Baptist minister, he never
swore. Two things orbited him:
Jewish ancestry. A dark and obvious comet
he feared
might plummet on Germanic command.
And a dim horseshoe of hair. Like
nailing it between his ears
would bring him
luck. But still
he died
at the kitchen table,
in a Hawaiian shirt,
with a Pepsi in his hand.
A last word
like gas through his teeth:
Shit.

Lannie Stabile (she/her), a queer Detroiter, often says while some write like a turtleneck sweater, she writes like a Hawaiian shirt. A finalist for the 2019/2020 Glass Chapbook Series and semifinalist for the Button Poetry 2018 Chapbook Contest, she is usually working on new chapbook ideas, or, when desperate, on her neglected YA novel. Works can be found, or are forthcoming, in Glass Poetry, 8 Poems, Kissing Dynamite, Monstering, Okay Donkey, Honey & Lime, and more. Lannie currently holds the position of Managing Editor at Barren Magazine and is a member of the MMPR Collective.

Artwork by: Elijah O’Donnell