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Honor Thy

Read by Maureen Alsop

My father’s body has become a crippled shrine,

a complex-compound formula misfiring.
Three times daily he takes up our offerings

of L-dopa laced through with regret —

not for falling ill but for all our missteps
and shuffling when in his prime.

For years, we spun in silence and insomnia.

Moon blind, my mother holds a gavel poised
above her bird-shaped prayers. One more

visit to his doctor and she’ll loose her swing,

bringing a judgment down on all our heads,
a flutter of bruised wings. Now, there’s no god

left in this universe to hear my confession.

Sandy Longhorn’s first book is Blood Almanac (Anhinga 2006), winner of the Anhinga Prize for Poetry. Her poems have appeared in diode, Indiana Review, Quarterly West, and elsewhere. She is a recipient of an Arkansas Arts Council Individual Artist Fellowship.