photo of woman with a paper heart attached to her lower lip

The Days Between My Parents’ Affair and My Affair by Nathan Kemp


I act so there is no use in a center. Right way or right way, sink or sink. What I need from you, I have no idea. Brushing aside all moral advice, you call me the professor, the professed. Professing your love for me. Your name-calling implies intellectual respect, but we’ve never talked about an idea in our lives.


You were always older than me by seven years. When you called me—the first time in years—two weeks after I had my first child, you told me you were looking into your muteness.


Archaeologists are finding a large number of hairs that used to be on your head. I remember how good you looked with your widow’s peak, your finally-filled-out facial hair. You started to gray in your forties & I remember your hair looked like clouds. I would sprawl out on the floor & call out the shapes I saw on your head.

Nathan Kemp is a graduate student focusing in poetry at the Northeast Ohio Master of Fine Arts. His work appears or is forthcoming in The Bakery, NAP, and Puerto del Sol. He is a poetry editor for Barn Owl Review and Rubbertop Review.

Lead image“Lips”(image via Flickr user cuppycakelolz)