He came back from the dead, my father did. I was living on the other side of the globe, but he found me out. Maybe he just gave the thing a spin on its axis and put a finger down here or here or here. But now he was out there on the shabby veranda and examining a white bedsheet hung on the line to dry. I knew he was going to ask me was this the best I could do given all that he had sunk into my ivy education, the blue roadster, grad school, the hooch and the wasted poetry years, Oaxaca, Cadiz, Haifa, Pusan etc. etc. Father, I said, I am old now too. Same age as when you croaked. He gave that wince he always winced when I used to use the language of the low. I felt bad about this. Nobody should cause the dead to wince after all they have been through. Only then did I notice beneath his Biblical nakedness and blurred out genitals he was wearing a pair of black ankle strap open toe high heels. The kind he bought at the cross dresser shop and hid in the garage crawlspace when he was still alive and we did not come across until after he was in the ground. They made my feet hurt just to look at them, the shoes did. No wonder it had taken him so many years to run me down, clattering along the endless back alleys of Asia in those stilettos like the fleeing consort of some fallen despot with an inflamed mob hot on her ass. But the old gal saw that I saw the pain and there was a tear about to drop. I do not know what that was all about. Perhaps she thought I finally understood. Still there she was standing out there on the veranda, no longer my old man now, fingering the bedsheet edge like she was shopping for just the right hemstitch on her shroud.
Robert Perchan’s poetry chapbooks are Mythic Instinct Afternoon (2005 Poetry West Prize) and Overdressed to Kill (Backwaters Press, 2005 Weldon Kees Award). His poetry collection Fluid in Darkness, Frozen in Light won the 1999 Pearl Poetry Prize and was published by Pearl Editions in 2000. His avant-la-lettre flash novel Perchan’s Chorea: Eros and Exile (Watermark Press, Wichita, 1991) was translated into French and published by Quidam Editeurs (Meudon) in 2002. In 2007 his short short story “The Neoplastic Surgeon” won the on-line Entelechy: Mind and Culture Bio-fiction Prize. He currently resides in Pusan, South Korea. You can see some of his stuff on robertperchan.com.