Issue > Poetry
Gregory Djanikian

Gregory Djanikian

Gregory Djanikian is the author of six poetry collections, the latest of which is Dear Gravity (Carnegie Mellon, 2014). He teaches at the University of Pennsylvania.

   

The Inside Man

My father was an inside man,
hotel room smoke-
loving casino man.

Loved nothing of the rose
or walking stick, nothing
of bee-balm or the bee.

The sound of the rain falling
was the sound of my father
wanting to come in.

The sound of the wind bending the trees
was my father thinking asphalt,
roadbed, every possible hardness.

His heaviest coat in any weather.
The shortest cuts to every drive
without grass or gardenias.

Now I think my cat curling into a box
must be my father, my dog disappearing
under the bed must be his likeness.

I throw my arms out,
I sweep away closets, cocoons,
crack the oyster open.

My father loved the sound of chips
falling from one hand into another,
the gurgle of liquor over ice.

"I'm an inside man," he'd say
wherever he was, adjusting his body
to fit the dark, the light, the in-between.

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