Poet’s Corner


..before compassion..
By Michael Oliveira

I knew my father’s knuckles
better than his palms..
now, he gasps,
toothless, quivering;
hollow cheek flesh
veins and bones;
furtive breaths….
I need him stronger;
equipped to handle
the hell I owe him..
stinging slaps and
threatening belt,
brass buckled..
sweat sheened
I still can’t find
a hiding place
I still can’t.

Michael Oliveira has lived and worked on Martha’s Vineyard for decades. He currently lives in East Falmouth.