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Free Verse: Andrew Hudgins

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, June 16, 2011 - Sometimes it seems we love our family members most when we're not there -- or when one leaves us. Happy Father's Day!

My Father's Corpse

He lay stone still, pretended to be dead.

My brothers and I, tiny, swarmed over him

like puppies. He wouldn't move. We tickled him,

tracing our fingers up and down his huge

misshapen feet -- then armpits, belly, face.

He wouldn't move. We pushed small fingers up

inside his nostrils, wiggled them, and giggled.

He wouldn't move. We peeled his eyelids back,

stared in those motionless, blurred circles. Still,

he wouldn't, didn't move. Then we, alarmed,

poked, prodded his great body urgently.

Diddy, are you okay? Are you okay?

He didn't move. I reared back, gathered speed,

and slammed my forehead on his face. He rose,

he rose up roaring, scattered us from his body

and, as he raged, we sprawled at his feet -- thrilled

to have the resurrected bastard back.

Andrew Hudgins is the author of numerous books of poetry, most recently American Rendering: New and Selected Poems (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2010).

To learn more about River Styx, click here. Richard Newman, River Styx editor for 15 years, is the author of two full-length poetry collections, "Borrowed Towns" and "Domestic Fugues." He also co-directs the River Styx at Duff's reading series.

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