Kevin Ridgeway

Deadbeat Clairvoyant

My father broke the silence
between us by declaring
in a handwritten letter
from state prison
that I have
genetic heart disease
just like him
and my hillbilly grandfather
before him. My father
has not seen me in ten years.
How does he know
my future diagnosis?
He urged me to get
my heart checked because
I am going to die of this
sudden family tradition
he’s sprung upon me..l
He must know the future,
because he created me
from out of his lazy scrotum
and often writes of this fact
in his letters to his
one and only son.
I wonder if my father
can appreciate these
sloppy metaphors of mine
as I try to reach across
the bars of his cell in order
to shake him good and hard
with each and every
last one of them.


Kevin Ridgeway‘s debut collection of poetry, Too Young to Know, is now available from Stubborn Mule Press. He is the author of nine chapbooks of poetry, including Grandma Goes to Rehab (Analog Submission Press) and Vacancy (with poems by James H. Duncan, Alpine Ghost Press). His work has appeared in Slipstream, Chiron Review, Nerve Cowboy, Main Street Rag, Plainsongs, Trailer Park Quarterly, Ghost City Review, Cultural Weekly, Lummox, The Cape Rock, Ghost City Review, Spillway, San Pedro River Review, Big Hammer and The American Journal of Poetry, among others. Poems of his have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. He lives and writes in Long Beach, CA.