Sean L. Corbin

Cargo Cult Daddy

Satiate my need to Daddy down the line along the line that splits our generations, Daddy, that makes our face the same but not, that makes our voice one voice but not, that makes a change from man to boy and back along the line of blood that never clots as if the line were thin instead of everlasting.

Teach me, Daddy, how to Daddy – write the manual on my arm so when I lift a future Daddy I’ll know what shapes and know what harms.

Daddy I am trying to study the way you bend your fingers just around the edges of treated pine to keep them holding frames aloft until the beams can be screwed in and keep the structure up themselves.

I came back, Daddy, just to learn how simple it can be to build a deck around a pool of blood or at least how simple you make it seem to turn a forest into what you imagine when you see the trees.

Daddy I need you to hear my fear of termites taking bites of my bones, Daddy, so that you can pull my hands down from my eyes and tell me how to patch a crack and also how to listen.

And Daddy, how’d you know to Daddy without running from the name of Daddy – did your Daddy do the same I’m asking you to do for me or was there something else, perhaps, that ran behind the holler trees in droughts or storms and flowed against your skinny arms and filled them with the rules and regulations of the Daddy Company?

Was there clay within the creek that soaked between your toes and said This is the way to stay in place?

Is that the secret I hope to know – the presence of the clay and how it mixes?

Daddy all I want to do is Daddy without meaning to, to Daddy without thinking that I’m broken in the ways of Daddy, to Daddy him in such a way that never will the day arise when the only thing he thinks to do is gather bales of hay and wire and broken frames and rabbit ears and twigs and something less than twigs and seven sheets of paper, legal size, and stack them all into a shape that seems like Daddy but only just the Daddy that he wishes for when lying in his bed at night below the frozen rush of air erupting from the darkened glass and wanting just a Daddy and a sheet.

So teach me Daddy, I beg you Daddy, teach me how to make the clay something warm but also firm, something sweet but also fiber, something deep but without drowning, something you, for him, but altogether me. 


Sean L Corbin is a member of the Creative Writing MFA program at the University of Kentucky. He holds a BFA in Creative Writing and MA in English Literature from Morehead State University. His creative work has been featured in Vinyl Poetry, Vine Leaves Literary Journal, Still: The Journal, Eunoia Review, and Inscape (MSU), as well as Motif 3: All the Livelong Day. Sean is currently a graduate assistant instructor at UK. He lives with his wife, the writer Amanda Kelley, and their two children in Central Kentucky.


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