By Dan O’Dair


The internet is changing my name,
eliminating the apostrophe like some
cyber Ellis Island. I am attached to

my apostrophe, the “of the” of my father
and all his drunken Irish forebears, a gentle
breathy caesura before learning from whence
I came.

And then there’s the apostrophe itself, the South Dakota
of the semicolon, the most unassuming cousin
in the punctuation family portrait,
hair-combed neatly in the first row,
so often misused in plurality when all
it really wants to do is possess.

O the clock, of my father, dead now
ten years and without a grandson that bears
his name. Back in ’59, the year he shipped out
for Okinawa, there had to be a bad
key on the Smith Corona for the apostrophe
to be abandoned, and the typer never scolded
you for using an “invalid character.”

If I decide to the fly the 2,000 miles
to my father’s grave I’ll enter our name in
the appropriate field. All the wasted years, all
the whiskey drunk will come with me and when
I land I’ll hope despite one missing speck
that I am still his son.

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DAN O'DAIR was born and grew up in Columbus, Ohio. He has lived in Chicago, Washington, DC, Columbus and Los Angeles. He holds an M.F.A. in fiction and poetry from the Ohio State University. He currently works as a story editor for various reality-based TV shows in Los Angeles. He’s married. He has a cat named Tiny. Recently he built a wine rack for his boss. In 2011 his chapbook Still Life from a Moving Desert Town was published on Hey Rat! Press.

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