Dreams of My Father

By Honorée Fanonne Jeffers b. 1967 Honoree Fanonne Jeffers
Or a man who looks like him.
I only know I call him Daddy
(as all southern women
do until the day we die).
In my dreams he is still alive
and this is not a comfort.
I am my best when tragic.
Grief becomes me.
Daddy is more real in death,
eyes dark, undimmed
by the grave, smile less sincere.
Matter clings to his thick
eyebrows, his mouth spits mud
when he tries to talk. He is candid.
He tells me he liked my sisters better than me.
Most times I search for him in a crowd
of counterfeit Daddies.
I look for pieces of him.
An elbow. Black hair on the back
of a pale neck. If I find him,
I will say, Is that you?
I know you this time.

Honoree Fanonne Jeffers, “Dreams of My Father” from The Gospel of Barbecue. Copyright © 2000 by Honoree Fanonne Jeffers.  Reprinted by permission of The Kent State University Press.

Source: The Gospel of Barbecue (2000)

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Poet Honorée Fanonne Jeffers b. 1967

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Subjects Living, Sorrow & Grieving, Relationships, Family & Ancestors

 Honorée Fanonne Jeffers


Honorée Fanonne Jeffers was born in 1967 and grew up in Durham, North Carolina and Atlanta, Georgia. Her work examines culture, religion, race, and family. Her first book, The Gospel of Barbecue (2000), won the Stan and Tom Wick poetry prize and was a 2001 Paterson Poetry prize finalist. Her collections also include Outlandish Blues (2003), Red Clay Suite (2007), which received second prize in the Crab Orchard Review’s open . . .

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SUBJECT Living, Sorrow & Grieving, Relationships, Family & Ancestors

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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