on estrangement

When my father was younger he would take me to the driving range in a neighboring town. He bought me a set of tiny pink golf clubs. I never really expressed interest in learning to golf. I expressed interest in him, which he took as an interest in golf. We went nonetheless. I wore an orange polo shirt. I think my father was lonely. He was very lonely, which I think is why he tried. These were the years of his trying. During custody we ate a lot of Burger King, frozen corndogs, and strip mall Chinese food. He took us to movies that we loved although they were a bit too mature for us to fully get them. He bought cardboard tampons and one dollar Ocean Breeze shampoo that broiled my hair. He took us to church, soccer practice, Friendly’s. Brigit Pegeen Kelly begins “The Leaving” with “My father said I could not do it.” It is odd to speak of a poet in the present tense when she is dead. It is odd to think of a father in past tense when he is not.


grace (ge) gilbert is a hybrid writer based in Pittsburgh. they received their MFA in poetry from the University of Pittsburgh in 2022, where they now serve as a Visiting Lecturer. they are the author of 3 chapbooks: the closeted diaries: essays (Porkbelly Press 2022), NOTIFICATIONS IN THE DARK (Antenna Books 2023), and today is an unholy suite (forthcoming; Barrelhouse 2023). their work can be found in 2023’s Best of the Net Anthology, the Indiana Review, Ninth Letter, the Adroit Journal, and elsewhere. They teach hybrid collage and poetics courses at the Minnesota Center for Book Arts, and they are a 2023 Visiting Teaching Artist at the Poetry Foundation. they are passionate about making the hybrid arts accessible to all. find course offerings and more at gracegegilbert.com