Fiction by Cherryl Janisse
(DEAD) BEAT DAD
Big Hip Hop Man writes, then spit-sings lyrics memorializing the murders of young men of color, eulogizing their attributes and society's loss with the loss of those Trayvons and Browns (and even McBrides and so many future souls), as he rides in fast cars and lives the Rolex--champagne-Courvoisier VSOP high life, I-Tuning and You-Tubing to unlikely fame and less likely fortune, and
all the while his three-year-old son, thousands of miles away, plays with one-inch cars and lives in a white world, in small apartments with his mother, oblivious of the father who is not a daddy, but who is a dad to dead boys, singing with anger to them and of them, but never a sweet soft bedtime lullaby to the boy who has yet to know he even has a father.
In day-care the child drew a picture of his family: Mommy, me, the cat. On Father's Day.
He will be asked next year, or the year after, where is your daddy, and he won't know how to answer a question about an unknown, unknowable, absent entity, connected thank god only at the cellular, genetic level, and hope is held that those genes are unexpressed ones, dormant, and as recessive as their source.
Cherryl Janisse is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Portland, Oregon. She has published fiction and poetry in many small press literary magazines over the past 25 years.