From CutBank 79
In the Democracy
My father went to the mirror every morning half naked and scraped cream from his beard. He flexed both biceps, blue plastic razor puny in his fist. His face half cream, half red and clean, he made a beast-face to make me shriek laughing. He believed that he was joking.
Colleen O’Brien’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Beloit Poetry Journal, West Branch, DIAGRAM, Another Chicago Magazine, The Journal, and Poetry Daily. Her short stories have appeared in The Antioch Review, North American Review, Sou’wester, Confrontation, and Sonora Review. She lives in Kalamazoo, Michigan, with her husband, Brandon Krieg, and is currently working toward a PhD in creative writing at Western Michigan University.