My dad was a blue shell of a bad man. Mom talks about his brain surgery, says it like this: it changed him. Says it slow, says it deliberate, nodding to agree with herself. She is slow like this because we both know what happens after: clusters of dirt in my hair, rotting meals, the bright lights, empty, empty, empty, and the pit. Fills my name with a bunch of songs I don’t know, don’t care to know, someday will wake up and sing them out loud. My mom acts like I remember conversations I don’t remember. Do you understand, Mom. I’m crying in the green room. They’re chanting my name in the arena.
We both know what happens after: bright lights, my pitless song, awaking chorus, nod, swallow the room like salt. Ten thousand people singing my stupid name. My body isn’t mine, it is my father’s, it is Father’s Day, my fault, over and over. Mom says it slow and deliberate: your body is an arena. Ten thousand people in the pit tonight, they are all fathers, ready to empty me, you don’t understand. I haven’t seen him in twenty years. Ten thousand bodies clustered in the arena. Everyone wants a small meal, a conversation.