In a special feature in the newest issue of The Bitter Oleander, Sean Thomas Dougherty is both interviewed and shares some of his poetry. Even in his interview, he responds to questions with clear, crisp, and inviting writing. Here’s an excerpt from a question about his childhood: “As a teenager I lived in Manchester, NH. My father sold things. He sold candy. He sold chemicals for restaurants. He drove every day with samples. My mother had gone to law school and was blacklisted for her politics. She worked at a radio station. She moved up. She became a DJ.
“Driving I could hear my mother’s voice curling through the white mountains and the red brick mills.
I spent the days at my friend Garry’s house. He was Haitian and I’d sit over there listening to them speak Patois, his mother always pushing a plate of plaintain and rice in front of me, eat eat eat she’d say, you must get strong. His father never said much. Once he took me by the hand and led me downstairs and showed me the rabbits, he lifted one and in a flash slit its throat. Blood on the damp concrete. The basement floor sticky with blood.
“Like the lost relatives the Tonton Macout took. The sepia’d photos of faces in the big album we would flip through to see the children playing on the high cliff.
“Once years later me and his brother robbed a pharmacy.”