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Two From Rob Plath





the hat

 my father used to tell me stories
 about his german stepfather
 how he wanted my father washed up
 & at the dinner table before he got home
 my father would be playing in the street
 or sitting on the stoop
 but always check up the block for him coming
 he said that he would look for his hat
 he knew his walk & the way he wore his fedora
 he couldn't see his face but he could see the hat
 moving towards him
 & he would run inside the building to the sink
 & then to the table
 if he wasn't seated at the table when his stepfather
 walked through the door he got hit
 his stepfather was just a baker
 i often wondered after hearing these stories what demands
 he would've made & what punishments he would've doled out
 if he was in charge of something more than a wife & a son
 if he was in charge of a city
 if he was in charge of a country.




my father's frozen eye

 when i was four years-old
 i remember my father would
 always say in a deep voice:
 "i got my eye on you"
 & his one frozen bell's palsy eye
 would be staring at me across
 the kitchen table
 it was a threat as much as a joke
 like when he used to ask me:
 "are you eating MY food?"
 when i was eating something alone
 at the table
 there's that saying that when people
 joke they're only joking 30%
 & i know more than half of him wanted
 to rip the plate away
 starve his own son
 make his measly pay check from
 the factory go a little further
 or make him so small & inert
 in the beam of that icy eye that
 he could swat him like an insect
 with the racing form
 carry a bigger roll at the track

ROB PLATH shares...

ROB PLATH is a 37 year-old poet from New York. He’s published nearly 300 poems throughout the small press both nationally and internationally. He tells us he was once a student of Allen Ginsberg for two years at Brooklyn College. “I have one book of poems out and five forthcoming.”





"the hat"


I heard my father tell a story about his father and how strict & controlling he was. I thought of my own father being a hypocrite telling it because he was even more controlling and monstrous than his father. At the same time I was watching a documentary about dictators throughout time and I connected the two; The heart of the world known dictator is the same heart the household dictator.


"my father's frozen eye"


I was just thinking about his bell's palsy and how I was scared of his one paralyzed eye staring at me at the dinner table. It fit his personality - the large, frightening cyclopean father who seems like he may eat his children.