American Sonnet 39

by John Martino

I’m pulling my fallen Father.
Pulling him up by the arm.
With both hands I’m pulling
a tough and stubborn weed

loose from hard earth, long
white roots ripping like stitches.
Well, I know what that means:
time to get a new Father.

Out here in the Far Field where
all the unforgiven Papas waltz
round & round the same old faults,
bullwhips crack the bitter air.

Limbs bearing strange fruit.
“Hands up!” Then shoot.


John Martino is an avid traveler currently residing in San Francisco with his partner, Xiuli. His poems have appeared in a number of publications, including Blue Lake ReviewWhat Rough BeastEunoia ReviewConnotation Press, and the anthology Envy: 7 Deadly Sins Vol. 6 from Pure Slush Books.