Sam Herschel Wein

Fishing With Dad

and he rolls back shoulders to hoist
the rod towards the bridge, wound round his right side, he

uncoils vertebrae, flings
dropped wires above my head, tuckered treats, one might think

we’re not even together
with the distance travelled of the nylon but

we are. In the light, threads look rainbow
in their shaking. I eat pickles on the string and dad’s jaws

sink on my teeth asking when’s the last
time I went to the dentist? What are these stains you know

there’s whitening procedures
and I’m frilly gills sashaying in the dress with the tag

still on, the tag becomes a rope around
my fists and I’m dragging through sharp rocks up to the boated

ripples blustering waves dad says we are
fishing so there’s no time for making statements, like every fish

is just bursting messages in glossy scales, alphabet
lustrous blood, I don’t bleed with dad but he’s always asking who

influenced me who pushed me to become
like this, like what? feminine. It’s not who you really are,

son. It’s getting dark. I have anemones
to hide in. He says, I worry about you, wearing those pearls,

like he notices their sheen in the giant ocean.
Aren’t you tired of drawing attention to yourself?

We bob in the surf, listening
for what to kill so we can eat together tonight.



Josh and His Family and Me and My Family

Shelton and Blake, identical twins, both coming
out at the same time! Preethi tells her mom
she’s a lesbian at the supermarket 🙂 seafood
tanked behind them. Cora creates a presentation
to come out as nonbinary to their parents
in which the metaphors, every example, is hippos.

           Late night, the laptop screen shimmers like hippos’
           skin painting the walls. I watch videos of coming
           out stories instead of sleeping, watch parents
           cry or hug or scream or laugh or sass or mom
           knew it but dad angry some presentation
           of responses, some burp burp oh no seafood

                      stink on my pillow, I think about seafood
                      and how, growing up, I didn’t eat it, but hippos
                      do, like I do now too, laying, watching the presentation
                      in my mind of me, at the table, 17 and coming
                      out saying, I’m gay, love me, love me, but mom
                      didn’t, dad was just angry and maybe parents

                                 should just stay on youtube, maybe parents
                                 should watch Please Like Me where I see food
                                 names the title of every episode, I smile while mom
                                 suicidal and Josh, comic boy who moves with hips
                                 clumsily through life, in Season 3, Episode 2, Josh coming
                                 to terms that coming out is a joke, Josh makes presentation

                                            makes Josh's boyfriend fake come out to Josh's dad, presentation
                                            heightened with piano, acting lessons, parents
                                            who never got it right now do it perfectly, gloriously, coming
                                            out now a novelty joke instead of rustling seafood
                                            out the teeth of a dog, out the teeth of the hippos
                                            I sprinted away when it failed, when my mom

                                                       looked at photos of me, crying around the house like mom
                                                       thought I was dead, which was not the presentation
                                                       like I’d practiced, which is never what the hippos
                                                       swim like at the zoo, which is never what parents
                                                       want: for their kids to be gay, or for them to eat seafood
                                                       breaking jewish traditions, or to scream at Josh coming

                                                                  out too perfection, my presentation never recovered,
                                                                  rainy hippos combing for seafood and my fingers reach
                                                                  for my parents, my mom, I can’t close the screen



Sam Herschel Wein (he/they) is a 2022 Pushcart Prize winning poet. Their third poetry chapbook, Butt Stuff Flower Bush, is faggotly forthcoming from Porkbelly Press. They are an MFA student in poetry at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. He edits the journals Underblong and Grist. Recent poems can be found in Muzzle Magazine, Waxwing Mag, and Shenandoah, among others.