I Hear my Father’s Voice – by Robert Fillman

when I yell at my son.
He has the memory
of his mother, forgets

my failures a little
too willingly. I can’t
say if this has helped or

harmed him. All I know is
that he asks me to hoist
him higher when he swings

at the park, that one more
ride on my shoulders is
never enough, that our

slow shuffle to school makes
his list of favorite
parts of the day. I want

him to be tough like his
sister who never cries
when I shout, but braces

her body as if she
is expecting a blow.
It’s the eyes that give him

away. It’s the meek grin,
like a stray animal
searching for a true home.

Robert Fillman is the author of November Weather Spell (Main Street Rag, 2019). He has been a finalist for the Gerald Cable Book Award, the Keystone Chapbook Contest, and the Rash Award in Poetry. His poems have recently appeared in The Hollins Critic, Nashville Review, Poet Lore, Poetry East, Tar River Poetry, and others. Fillman earned a Ph.D. in English from Lehigh University, where he was a Mountaintop Creative Writing Fellow. He is currently an Assistant Professor at Kutztown University.

Painting: “Tried to Pull Away”
Artist: Henry L. Jones
2019 – 16×20 inches – mixed media on canvas