Big-Eyed Afraid comprises five numbered sections, demarcations tracking the linear progression from youth to adulthood, and the milestones in between. Yet the poems defy this neat organization, each an intimate case study of identity; they are frank interrogations of family, race, gender, mental illness, and the forces that shape us.
We’d both attended a hunter’s safety course that summer, mandated by law. Pop and Bird were nonplussed. What could some game warden with a B.S. in wildlife management teach us about the sporting life? It was an insult. Not to me. I was curious as to what other men might teach me, particularly men who may have written books on such matters, or at least men who had read those books, or perhaps any book.
Right after my ninth birthday, Daddy had a tantrum that made him punch a hole in the wall, his right hand break, and his secretary walk out. That made him punch the wall with his left hand and break that one too, and that was how I ended up Daddy's secretary summer before fourth grade.
One thing I love to do during the holidays is sit around and tell stories with family. It’s just such a good way to remind myself of why I love them, and why I live in another state. We told a lot of stories this past Thanksgiving, my father and me sitting at the table over breakfast, remembering what it was like back then, when I was so small and full of potential, and he was so large and full of ideas about how to kill things.