Every Father Says I Love You

By Oscar Mancinas
May 17th, 2016

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Not the one from the sierra in Northern Mexico.
Not the one who said kuira before hola before hello.
Not him, though.

What’s he to do, working in a mine,
a teen deep in the earth where
I love you cannot breathe?

Or when Indio blooms into grapes
and triple-digit heat, and he’s up before dawn
and done after I love you has gone to sleep?

I love you isn’t at his wedding, so what’s he
to know about love or you? Or when
I crawl all over the floor, grasping

at the world with confidence like the morning
sun? Spitting and crying, I see
dad and tug on his dirty pant leg and beg

to be lifted. He picks love up, and I
love you climbs from his arms over his heart
to his shoulders. I love you sits, rests my

cheek against dad’s cheek and listens.