Heritability

for Don LeHew 1947 -2010
by Laura LeHew

I met you when I was 40
I met you because I was the black sheep of the new family
I met you because you were the black sheep of the old family
I met you at a Denny’s
I met you without knowing what you looked like
and when you walked in I knew you were my brother
I met you and you were wearing the same red Hawaiian shirt dad had
I met you and you told the same joke dad told before I left
I met you and you asked me why dad loved me and not you
I met you and you asked me what you had done that was so bad
I met you with silence a night moth lodged obsidian in my tongue
Later I sent you poems about a father who never loved his daughters
I sent you poems about a father who never loved his wives
I sent you poems about addictions, unknowing aunts, bruises
I sent you poems about love and the death of my cat Topaz
and your cat Topaz had just died
and you picked up the phone and called
and you told me to never live with regret
and you promised you’d come for a visit
but then a stranger called to tell me you would not

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Laura LeHew has won state and national awards including residencies from Soapstone and MAR. Her poems appear in Atticus Review, Eleven Eleven, FutureCycle: American Society: What Poet’s See, PANK and Spillway a Poetry Magazine. Collections: Beauty (Tiger’s Eye Press), It’s Always Night, It Always Rains (Winterhawk Press) and forthcoming spring 13 Willingly Would I Burn (MoonPath Press). Laura received her MFA from CCA. Former president of the Oregon Poetry Association www.oregonpoets.org she recently joined the board of CALYX journal http://www.calyxpress.org/. Laura writes, edits her small press Uttered Chaos and sharpens her claws in Eugene, Oregon www.utteredchaos.org.