Is It Hereditary, Father?

 they shall say no more, The fathers have eaten a sour grape, and the children’s teeth are set on edge. But every one shall die for his own iniquity…

Is it hereditary, father?
That we eat sour grapes?

Am I you? I need to write it down
Are my teeth are set on edge?

I blame you for our flare of flesh
For loving the high & imperious sun

I blame you for pride and vigor
The boob tube and sofa set rigor

I’ll tell you I don’t remember Kansas
Basement days or your loaded shotgun

The I-love-everyone-life-is-great-days
Your fists and arms in a fury of rage

I am damn sick of worrying I’m sick like you
Tell me I’m not; that these teeth are my own

after Carolyn Forche’s The Morning Baking


14 thoughts on “Is It Hereditary, Father?

    1. Thanks Mosk. I have a father who has struggled with depression all his life. It’s a chemical imbalance and I’d worried it was hereditary, but have been blessed with good health and a hopeful scripture promise. My problems are my own problems. My struggles don’t have to be handed down from my father.

  1. That was a powerful poem. The worry that you will inherit an illness – or even bad habits or morals from a parent is a real thing that many people struggle with and you captured it very well.

  2. Really powerful poem. I tend to struggle a bit with poetry as I yearn to understand and so I’m grateful for the tags as it helps explain the depth of meaning and feeling behind your words and also the title. Beautifully done.

  3. You set the mood so well with that series of opening questions, also with strong words, “loaded shotgun,” “fists,” and “fury of rage.” I loved these lines:
    “I blame you for our flare of flesh/For loving the high & imperious sun.” (I keep reading “sun” as “sin!”)

  4. I enjoy reading poems and the inspiration from which the poem was taken. You captured the one-sided argument in the Caroline Forché work. And I like the spin you put on it. I wouldn’t have known if you hadn’t mentioned it that the idea was taken from someone else.

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