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And Then He Will Declare,
"I Never Knew You"

Ben Allee


Suit, tie, hair done nice.

I’m a good guy. Shoes are polished.

Dad’s inside.

Feet soles hit the cement just like everyone else’s.

Except the soles were more expensive.

Flashbacks to birthdays with every exhalation.

Blowing out candles, Dad’s proud.

Dad’s pride, wanted me to go to business school.

I did and so I did and now I can afford to walk expensively.

Brass door handle turns smoothly, door opens like an old one.

Every classroom opened doors, doors needed to be open, doors open doors closed grades earned words shared piece of paper making paper now I’ve got expensive shoes.

Suit jacket is clean, pants have a stain on the right thigh, can’t afford to care, day is over, day is done, meetings through and through, Dad’s upstairs.

Stairs are creaky, nurses smile cleanly, they find me attractive like I want them to but that don’t matter at the moment.

More doors and hootin’ hollerin hear the sounds of war brothers firing off stories.

Open the door, sleeve pulls back, cufflinks made of gold, you see.

Dad’s sitting in a rocking chair, surrounded by good ol’ hooting and hollerin boys.

The room smells dirty. Like dirt. Bad bad dirty clothes.

The ol’ boys and Dad looked like an expensive painting about cheap men.

I stepped in, squatted down.


He turns.


“My name is Connor Alway. I’m your son.”

“You’re who?”

“Your son.”

His uneven retinas slid across my appearance.

“Now you look like a man I wouldn’t talk to under any circumstance…so if you’re tryin’ to pull the wool over someone’s eyes you can talk to James over here.”

He motioned to the good ol’ one to his right. They started laughing.

And Dad laughed too. And he looked at me, his crooked finger aiming at the man where his prodigy once stood now prodigal now prodigious now producing now profoundly inadequate.

Now pared by his vapid eyes. No longer part of his memory. Not even worth a prayer.

I pulled my lips together and backhanded him, cufflink into withered temple.

The ol’ boys didn’t say much, a grunt or two.

A third grunt from the hinges as the old door closed once more.

Walking again, but my eyes weren’t nearly as clean as my suit.

They were as red as my tie, as wet as the morning.

I’m not a good guy. And I don’t look good in a suit.

Spring, 2018 Issue

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