The bent lamp contemplates fire, its light
is louder than emergency.
What in the world, in this house,
can make him his father. Are coffee stains
on a V-neck tee-shirt equated with perseverance?
Is the sharp fetor of Skoal lingering in the toolshed
instilling in him a work ethic, or instructing him
how to use slip knots to secure plywood
to the roof of a foreign car?
There were days when he would swear
avocados and black olives would strengthen skin,
deepen the simian creases
in his palms. There is a generational pride
in rough hands, even for the son
who dreads the shovel and the word
chassis scares him to death: Son,
what the hell are you
doing in there? Writing
a poem, cursing
that red wheel barrow,
shit depends on it. Right now
so much more depends
on how the son
answers the father,
even as an electric heat
fills the room.