Carpentry was one
of the eleven dead-end trades
my father made do with to keep
the home running.
He had been a plumber, a painter,
master of ceremonies with a look
on his face that said
“Son, these shoes wouldn’t be a good fit for you.”
So, every morning, I started out of bed with overgrown dreams
and sometimes, I try to determine
what my father’s love would weigh
on a spring balance, and I think I have it figured.
If I had a dune of dust, I’d make a man
who has a heart that won’t stop thumping
and a mind that doesn’t know when to give up.
I would probably have something around
a six-foot-one of brawn and muscle
yet more tender than it would be
healthy for his masculinity to admit.
My father’s mouth is half-an-acre plot of quicksand
with his love mired in it so much
that the more it tried to crawl
free the deeper it sank.
But you see, when my father strides into the house
in the cool of sunset and finds me
spread out on the linoleum in a doze
you can’t tell apart from death
he nudges me awake and asks
“what have you an appetite for?”
with a calmness that plays the tempter
& I suddenly want to name delicacies
that would make our debts grow taller.
How heavy a father’s love is?
Trust me, Dad, I know
if it were as light as a feather, it would slip
off your tongue more often
than I have grown used to.