Ode to the Emperor (some wild thing)
When I’m done wanting the babies, I wonder
what fatherhood is. I wonder if my children will
one day see my desk chair and think of throne.
I am a second generation father; my father never knew
his. But he managed with nothing else, took the globe
in his left hand and said I give you the world. And he bowed
his head to butt me with it, to ram it into my skull until
I understood control, structure, something other than the animal
world. He held me, arms inflexible while I shook the wild
out, until rigidity set in my spine — the bank account
and loan payments and managing a calendar —
and I hated it all. But I was on my feet. Steady, stable.
O eagle of gold, executive of acumen, commanding
chief and king of clarity: I am so full of strange experience.
I am the ram, wild and still lonely in lonely places.
I don’t know if I understand you yet, see your fatherhood
in the young curls of keratin sprouting from my skull.
But I want to. O father, lead me to your pasture. Tame
the feral in me. Teach this rough beast to be docile, to grow
horns large enough to protect, to bring order to chaos
and strength to these arms so that one day
I, too, might hold tight some wild thing of my own.
Jake Phillips is a recent graduate of the poetry MFA at UMass Boston and a current Content / UX Writer. His work has previously been published in Poetry Online, trampset, Writers Resist, and elsewhere.