A famine lost our stories that we were suppose to pass down in the language we got stolen when they cut out our tongues

I like thinking we came from the cliffs with the cold ocean hardened us to steele

But I know it is more likely my father’s great-grandparents came with hollowed out cheeks, able to count every rib protruding from skin to stubborn to give way already

My father grew up in Boston, a city notorious for its diaspora population

As an impoverished kid he saw his fair share of street fights, living in his fair share of projects

Noting he was one of 5 Irish kids in a disciplinary high school full of Italians

Maybe that’s why he spent so much time running and teaching us that the English we had grown up with was wrong outside the house

Because in his youth he was lesser than due to his roots, and the dialect we were all taught would give us away

Scars of the past still linger in the memory of my father

Yet knowing I have the same stubborn as his mother is the best heirloom I could have recieved


My Father’s Fight

Wood Richard L


Oldest of 5 children, 3 boys 2 girls

Not in that order

Son of Arthur and Mary (neƩ Barnacle) of Wellesley

Drafted into a war that wasn’t

It was a conflict lost

My theater teacher said all the men who fought were monsters

But the only monster my father knew was the alcohol that made his father too friendly with a belt, his fists, anything to hurt everyone close to him

My father worked from below the poverty line as a child to middle class so his children didn’t have to see the ugly he did

He is the strongest man I know

If he fell they would have known how to bury him by the tag that he wore

The tag every man was issued

He saw active combat once in his two tours

His discharge came in 1973 signed by Nixon

We still have no idea all that he saw

Nor all of what he did

Radiomen like him had low survival rates and I am lucky to have him alive

To call him my father

His travel ban lasted 10 years and cost job offers

His work was, and still may be, classified

He’s a brilliant man who couldn’t attend the Ivy League college who accepted him

War takes impoverished young men like him

My theater teacher was lucky to be born into the privilege my father wasn’t

My father raised two stubborn, sassy, loving daughters like himself

Wood R L


One of five, the first

Born to Irish Catholic parents living in the suburbs of Boston

The only monster he knows is the memory of his father

Who he is the only of the five to forgive a sea of alcohol yelling, hitting

Breaking apart a home

He has taught me forgiveness, how to love, how to stand up for myself, how to laugh

He is not the stereotype my teacher thinks