The Thing About Fathers
Always him, with the trudging up the half-flight
of stairs, work caps and ill-fitting black shirts,
constant waiting to be punched in the jaw,
pushed to the concrete or hard plaster.
Something washed over with the IVs and dripping
pulses, the finality, a light on a little grey
bit of plastic, and that was all there was.
Confusing spins of tears, reddened eyes,
lying in funeral homes, on therapist couches:
Feeling of excuses, feeling of relief.
There was some shaking, iron filings on a child’s tablet,
to forget the air conditioner heart attacks,
the reasons we slept on grandfather’s couch
for a year and a month, missing Christmas.
Falsehoods, easy platitudes, passed around as
Thanksgiving china; what was supposed to be
said, compared to drug store greetings?
In a minute, an early life’s ten years,
mere sparks upon untested metal, I learned
The sort of thing never to be.
Thought About Sidewalks
It was the electric cable, swaying sleek and pitch,
low-humming trembles in the August sunlight,
first-heard chirps of hummingbirds, crickets for
a long time, a night without shoe-heel slapping
pavement, without the cry of wheel-axel.
It was a melding, leaves looming shade-like
over the deadened windows, lights snuffed
from the half-vacation, reflected stacking stones.
As it came together, swirls on paint palette,
the canalman’s complaint came, the subtle rejection.
It was fraying rope, in perfect metaphor,
stretched from bridge to bridge, worn as
faded garment; the attempt at warning,
unheeded, yellow and black unwinding,
it never stopped a soul passing.
This was an absurdity, artist's rendition,
clutching limbs to chest, hasty retreats,
wishing to go back, to go back.
Broken pieces, scowling lip, serene
eyes as shuddering pools; remembered
we were so close, warm.
Pinned as night shades, wooden shutters,
struggle to move amidst hazy lies,
told to ourselves, adolescent treasure.
Breaking wave, computer click-buzz,
bolts of forgetfulness, cross-eyed loons
and the third kind of lonesome:
they kept me company, waiting on
tea saucers, crumbling cardboard,
for an ever-promised arrival.