Poetry: Cherry Blossoms by Daniel Duffy
Daniel Duffy’s “Cherry Blossoms” reveals the power of a single scene: how one moment, shared between two individuals, can carry so much the weight of love, despair, disgust, and the way we so often hide the most normal means of intimacy behind closed doors.
After midnight, after he gave up on some novel
about crime or punishment—not Dostoyevsky—
my father gripped a butter-knife and stuck it
between the back of his neck and his shirt’s collar,
digging around like an archaeologist.
He’d give up on that, too, pulling me away
from a Family Ties rerun to drag off his shirt,
revealing a virgin canvas between shoulder blades.
I wielded the knife. His pimples had ingrown hairs
and would bleed like weeping cherry blossoms
against white mountains of back fat.
Danny Duffy is pursuing an MFA in The Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University, where he teaches creative writing. He has received scholarships from the Community of Writers Poetry Workshop and the North Street Collective. His poetry and criticism have appeared in The Times Literary Supplement, Poet Lore, Pleiades, Rust and Moth, and elsewhere.