Benzie Dio has been teaching literature and directing drama in a junior college
for the past 10 years. Both poet and playwright, his writing accolades include
winning 1st prize in the Theatreworks 24-Hour Playwriting Competition (2003)
for his play Odds, and the Merit Award for his contribution to the Atlanta Review
International Poetry Competition (2004). He has published in poetry anthologies
such as Love Gathers All, and is currently in the process of completing a play for
the Theatreworks Writers' Lab Programme (2004), titled Heartlessness.


this morning i realised what
i must have already subconsciously

noted in the back of my mind that
i tuck my shirt into my pants

in the exact same way you
used to when you dressed yourself

for work in your mornings past,
cotton-made creases neatly aligned

against what i imagined to be
some exacting personal yardstick, edged

precisely against the sides of your
waist, sleeves thrice-folded

along the striped grain of your shirt,
a half-view from my dwarfish

perspective of your lean frame in
the full-length mirror, always

the transistor radio crackling its
hey hey hey it's a beautiful day

melodies accompanied by the
kitchenly distant voice of the wife

who placed your chipped green
mug of black coffee by the dining table.

how nicely, how perfectly pressed
your shirts were, how easily,
how perfectly believable

your infallibility and
encompassment of all things estimable
and true in my erstwhile world,

how darkly, how hard,
to see myself in the mirror to see
more than a well-pressed facade,

clothes making the man,

how hard pressed to find
the man in the reflection

when measured against
the tailoredness of your trousers

walking to the door, aftershave
and goodbye trailing past

and still the radio playing.


"For now we see through a glass darkly..."
- 1 Corinthians 13:10

this morning i reached as far as
the clear glass doors of the sanctuary

and the affably opaque smile of the usher
on the other side, and peering in i saw

that someone had already taken
my favorite seat at the far anonymous

corner - a good seat by all accounts
because one only needs to shake no more

than three other hands when it came to
that part of the service, which had already

started - and i didn't want to interrupt God
who was evidently doing a great job with

the congregation, judging by their steadfast
glassy-eyed unanimity, from my clear glass

perspective anyway, so i turned around and
walked out the main gate, and lit my cigarette,

thinking of the parable of the virgins who
arrived too late and were locked out

(opaquely steadfastly oaken doors no doubt)
of the dinner banquet. then i sat down

for breakfast after that
and said my grace

but it wasn't quite the same at all.


watching fathers
dressed in their sloppy

domestic best
obliviously content

with their children
of various sizes and ages

makes me remember
how i agreed

to flush mine away
in an operating room

some always recent
years ago.

for joash

your parents proudly declared
turning in nascent familial tandem
to look at the clock
that you were born exactly
one day ago
before launching into
the merits of breastfeeding and
the appropriate dosage of
chinese herbs in your mom's diet

what did i answer when
in enthusiastic unison
they asked who you resembled more?

looking at your downy hair and
pursed eyes and your impossibly
small body
anticipating your childhood
selfness your adolescent
umbilical breakaway your
into adulthood

i politely said that
it was too early to tell

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