Monday, June 9, 2008

Dads, Part I: Two Poems on Fatherhood

In light of the coming celebration of Dads, I’m going to explore fatherhood this week, beginning with my own experience as Dad as explored in “Two Poems on Fatherhood.”

I. Two Kitchen Floors and a Tea Party

Scrubbing the kitchen floor
on my hands and knees:

Dad walks in, looks down, says,
You’ll make someone a good wife

someday, then grins. I
shake my head,

laugh back, and return
to searching for my reflection

in linoleum.

Our six-month daughter strapped to my chest
and our three-year-old downstairs

in front of Sesame Street: I
mop the kitchen floor,

watching crumpets rise
in the oven because

she’s playing tea party and I thought
we’d try them for real

this time.

II. At the Grocery Store on a Mid-week Afternoon

My cart loaded, infant
and toddler in tow, I step
to the check-out stand. You

playing Mom today?
the cashier asks. Looking up
then down, I’m tempted to

strip myself, say, Did I
wear my wife’s breasts today
by accident? Slip on her

twice-episiotomied sex
with my underwear, her
labor-wide hips with my jeans?

No wonder nothing fits.
I must have missed the mirror
on our way out the door. Instead,

while unloading groceries
on the conveyor belt,
I patronize her smile with mine, and,

secure in my active fatherhood,
tell her, Something like that,
although it’s really

nothing like that (Dragoti’s[1]
Jack Butler got my arc wrong);
then wait for the price, pay,

reload the cart, and gather my girls
into the flaming circle
of our mundanity.

[1] Stan Dragoti, Director of Mr. Mom starring Michael Keaton