• Adam McGee
My Father Pretends to be a Ghost  

Stormy nights he arrives sometimes  

sallow and sunken-faced from dehydration  

the way he was at the end, a skull’s head,  

his chest split with only a strip of bloodied tape  

to stop his insides from slopping out.  

This is the ghost of his body, I think,  

so loathsome and loved at once.  

I turn away, I fear he will see me seeing him  

this way, and I do not want to witness  

his tragic embarrassment, that he, my father  

who hated the macabre and believed only  

in the sanctified dead, whose new bodies arise perfect  

and light, has somehow not become one of them.  

Most nights, though, he is more himself. We argue  

because he is driving the wrong way and has forgotten  

the tickets. Almost always I am furious.  

A rare good night, we make it all the way to the store  

where he can’t believe the prices but helps anyway.  

Every night it will come though, that moment  

when at last he unbuttons his shirt to show me  

the long puckered seam, explaining how,  

when it finally opens, he will step clear of the skin.  

Dead Fathers at the Running of the Bulls

If you’re gored  

by your dead  

father you’ll  

be taken  

to a hospital  

where your dead  

father will  

not visit you.  


You must turn  

and slay your  

dead father  

and all the dead  

fathers look  

the same but  

it won’t work  

if you kill  

someone else’s,  

it has to be  

your own.  


Do I even  

have to tell you  

everyone is  

cheering for  

your dead  




My Father as the Risen Savior with Thomas  

Too long later  

you appear bodily  

in the kitchen  

of the old house  

looking well slept.  


I insist on seeing  

your hands  

and the wound  

that collapsed  

your lungs  


and you are kind  

about this because I,  

in the end, am  

the one who was  

most like you.  


But none of that will  

matter much longer  

as you are going  



to a place that I  

cannot follow you  

and you cannot  

bring me.  


I have seen  

so I believe  


though it’s amazing  

how little it matters  

to the story  

what I believe.