It is legend: my father left Vietnam
for Okinawa, for the air base where
Medical Corps doctors performed
a vasectomy. Fifteen years later,
in a sleepy Missouri bedroom painted
hydrangea, wrapped and unwrapped
in blankets akin to neon asparagus,
my father makes love to my mother.
And according to legend: I ignite.
No, this is not a miracle, not even
a modest one. When I am born,
my mother asks my father to sell
his Harley Davidson. But had I not
erupted from raging fire, the thing
that makes a legend, my father could
journey on with nothing but daughters,
my mother, a motorcycle. Without me,
without the gravity of having a son.

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D. GILSON is working on a PhD in American Literature and Culture at George Washington University after finishing his MFA at Chatham. Recent work can be found in Los Angeles Review, The Rumpus, Moon City Review, and in his chapbook Catch & Release, winner of the 2012 Robin Becker Prize from Seven Kitchens Press. Find him at dgilson.com.

2 responses to “My Mother Asks My Father to Sell His Motorcycle”

  1. I think the word asparagus grabbed me at first.
    And then vasectomy.
    Lovely: on so many levels!

  2. kristen says:

    “Painted hydrangea” got me. A fitting and lovely image in an all-around lovely poem.

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