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By Matt Mason

Dad would come home after too long at work

and I’d sit on his lap to hear

the story of Ferdinand the Bull; every night,

me handing him the red book until I knew

every word, couldn’t read,

just recite along with drawings

of a gentle bull, frustrated matadors,

the all-important bee, and flowers—

flowers in meadows and flowers

thrown by the Spanish ladies.

Its lesson, really,

about not being what you’re born into

but what you’re born to be,

even if that means

not caring about the capes they wave in your face

or the spears they cut into your shoulders.

And Dad, wonderful Dad, came home

after too long at work

and read to me

the same story every night

until I knew every word, couldn’t read,

                                                                              just recite.


Poem copyright ©2013 by Matt Mason from his most recent book of poems, The Baby That Ate Cincinnati, Stephen F. Austin State University Press, 2013. Poem reprinted by permission of Matt Mason and the publisher.

Poet Bio

Matt Mason
Matt Mason is the author of The Baby That Ate Cincinnati (Stephen F. Austin State University Press, 2013). He lives in Omaha, Nebraska. See More By This Poet