Issue > Poetry
Michael Montlack

Michael Montlack

Michael Montlack is the author of Cool Limbo (NYQ Books) and the editor of the Lambda Finalist essay anthology My Diva: 65 Gay Men on the Women Who Inspire Them (University of Wisconsin Press). Most recently his work has appeared in Cimarron Review, Barrow Street, Ocean State Review, Hotel Amerika and other journals. He lives in New York City.

Geographic Monogamy

My parents married, bought a house, raised three kids,
staying put for thirty years, my father tending his hedges
until they grew taller than the tallest of his children—
green fortress walls he wouldn't let landscapers touch.

After finishing the basement, he built a sunroom, a tool shed,
and the deck for our pool, where I liked to set adrift
an inflatable raft with our English Setter Reggie floating
sleepily—tethered by his confidence I'd reel him back in.

Where are we going now? my boy self asks, always stuffed
into my carry-on, big toe poking through a stressed seam.
I hush him, smiling my way through security to Departures
that digital list of cities I haven't visited (yet) winking at me.

Unpacked, in our meager rented room, I tell that boy self,
You'll thank me. For expanding our world. Beyond those hedges. 
But he says, I love those hedges, adding he's sure one day
Dad will trust him enough to trim them by himself.

Unfolding a city map for him, I can't admit it—those hedges.
Gone now. (Like Reggie. Like my parents.) Ripped out
by new owners who simply wanted to open up the yard,
allowing their own kids more space to roam.

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