Kip Knott ~ Family Reunion

I knew my father would come for me even­tu­al­ly. But I’m deter­mined not to let the nick-nick of lock picks shake me off the mid-cen­tu­ry mod­ern set­tee I bought on my own rather than accept his bequeathed over­sized sofa. I set my jaw tight.

With a final click, the door cracks open before the chain catch­es and stops it. A gust of wind rat­tles the stained-glass copies of Pop Art paint­ings I have suc­tion-cupped to the bay win­dow, and for a moment the image of the front win­dow of my child­hood home—with my mother’s dec­o­ra­tions of stained-glass flow­ers and hummingbirds—flashes in my mind.

Suddenly, my father, dead these past five years, kicks in the door and bursts across the thresh­old wear­ing the all-too-famil­iar crooked grin I see on my own face in unwant­ed pic­tures of me. In his left hand he holds a tran­quil­iz­er gun; in his right, a burlap sack.

Hello, son,” he says matter-of-factly.

C’mon, you bas­tard! Just try to get me!” I hear myself yell in the same voice he used to use to curse pow­er tools that failed in his hands.

There’s no sense fight­ing it. You can’t escape,” he says in a monot­o­ne. “Look at me. Remember Grandpa? Believe me, I know.”

You’d like me to just give in, wouldn’t you?” I match his monot­o­ne per­fect­ly with my own. “I’ll nev­er sur­ren­der myself to you.”

Look at me,” my father says again. He tilts his head toward the mir­ror above the man­tle. “Look at your­self.” Then he points the gun toward a high school grad­u­a­tion pho­to of my son on the end table next to the set­tee. “Now look at your own son. See any­thing famil­iar? It’s bet­ter for every­one if you just accept it.”

Never. I’m my own man. And so is my son.”

But when my moth­er appears from behind my father, my resolve dis­solves. I haven’t seen her since I was ten when, as my father clum­si­ly explained, “the angels called her back to Heaven.” As soon as she was buried, he gave me to my grand­par­ents and left for good. My grand­ma used to tell me that I had my mother’s eyes, per­fect­ly round and almond brown with flecks of gold. But with my glau­co­ma diag­no­sis just last week, I know my eyes belong to my father.

It’s so good to see you again, hon­ey. Oh, how you’ve grown,” she coos. “Look what I made for you. Your favorite.” She holds out a plate of oat­meal raisin cook­ies. “Take one. For Mommy,” she says in a hushed bed­time-sto­ry voice.

Unable to resist, I reach for a cook­ie. “So grown up,” she says. “And the spit­ting image of your father.” My eyes widen, but before I can argue, I flinch at the sting of a dart embed­ding in my neck. And as the lights begin to fade and the bag slips over my head, I hear my par­ents say in uni­son, “This hurts us more than it hurts you.


Kip Knott is a writer, teacher, pho­tog­ra­ph­er, and part-time art deal­er liv­ing in Delaware, Ohio. His third book of poet­ry, The Other Side of Who I Am, is avail­able from Kelsay Books. His debut col­lec­tion of sto­ries, Some Birds Nest in Broken Branches (Alien Buddha Press), is avail­able on Amazon. You can read more of his work at