One Piece of Advice From My Father – Ed Doerr

You peel your face from your skull,
then snug it over mine.

Here, you say, & hand me
a fishhook flecked with rust

that ripped through my bottom lip
& buried itself in the roof of my mouth—

I gargled blood into a froth;
these damn things are sharp,

have minds of their own, you know?
What I mean is: don’t trust the horizon.

The sun rises at your neck, sets at your feet.
That is why, perhaps, pain burns.

You blanket my hand with yours, smile
through ribbons of wet sinew, marble of muscle.

What you cast comes back to you
because it has nowhere to go.

The fishhook pricks my palm,
& you close my hand around it.

I pulled this from my lip, you say.
In response, my blood —

a helix uncoiling despite our fingers —
ticks off the wooden floor

with the sound of a metronome
burning like cold steel in my ears.
Ed Doerr

Ed is a teacher and the author of Sauteing Spinach With My Aunt (Desert Willow Press, 2018). He was recently selected as a featured poet in July 2020 for Cathexis Northwest Press. His poems appear in The American Journal of Poetry, Trampset, One Teen Story, Dreams Walking, Perhappened, & more. He is on Twitter @EdDoerrWrites. Website:

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