I never knew my father
You could say that this has shaped me somehow
Like him, I am inescapably a coward
Don’t get me wrong—I mean this without bitterness
After all, cowards don’t typically die stupid deaths
Their pain is mostly self-inflicted

Have I mentioned that the thought of my prostate terrifies me?

Sometimes, I wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat
with the feeling that someone with murderous intentions
has broken into my apartment
Then I realize it’s just my prostate

I have read that a healthy prostate is soft, a sick one firm
Somehow, this thought does not comfort me

I’ve never felt a part of my body
I’ve always felt a victim of my body

Once I met an older man who wanted to make me his lover
That is, he wanted to fuck me in a hotel in Ottawa
during the 2007 Canadian Chess Championship
We were both participants in the tournament

In his Marriott hotel suite he said, “It’s funny how the people we get closest to
are often the ones we end up cutting out of our lives eventually”

We never got very close despite his efforts
He once tried to seduce me with coconut shrimp, a 26er of Smirnoff vodka,
and a tray of crackers

Still, I remember what he said

I often think all people have to offer are words
and then I’m not sure whether this is a wonderful thing
or something I should feel profoundly sad about

In any case, I don’t think I’ll be writing anything about the father I never knew

From the start, I think I’ve been subconsciously trying to write a plotless story
just so that I can have a copy of it on Type Books’ plotless-fiction shelf

I’ve always wondered about that shelf
Is anything really plotless?

My life, probably

Josh Sherman is a Toronto-based journalist and editor who also publishes poems and stories. His work has appeared in The Daily Drunk, Hobart, Misery Tourism, Okay Donkey, and others. You can read his collected online work at

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