My Father's Town
by Nick Allen Herink
Nick Allen Herink

Nick Allen Herink is an undergraduate student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Nick has previously been published by the Catholic Daughters of America, Pank Magazine and Laurus for which he received the Editor's Choice Award for Outstanding Poetry.

Herink, Czech Republic—2007

The Czech town that goes by my father's name,
is a village that begs for vodka and tall tales—
but the taverns have all closed shop.
They say that the last of my family left when the booze did.

My father stands in the middle of the street
while my mother takes a picture.
Beautiful, my daddy says,
surrounded on all sides by unplowed farmland.
But this town has become beerbellied and gray in its old age,
it has become duck-footed, tin-eared, punch-drunk
and forgotten how to speak the language.

My father scratches his stomach,
looking at the farmhouses
at the crisscrossed old world roads.
Hoping the people will come out into the streets,
lick his muddy boots like a long lost king
and welcome him home.

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