waiting for the father

he waited today
as he had for years
for some nod

pass the corn, dad
which he did without
looking up from his plate.
did the wind do any damage?
his dad grunted.

Advertisement

he remembered
following his dad into the bathroom
before his own whiskers appeared—
watched him shave from the toilet seat.
never looked his way
as he patted on mennen aftershave—
silently headed out to finish dressing.

he knew he’d get the strap
if he came home late
if he back-talked
if he had let the fields flood
if his gopher traps came up empty
if his furrows weren’t straight
and grades, the grades, always the grades.

he resigned himself
he would not ever be good enough

yet, this Christmas
again, he
watched him
as if he were seven.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

Advertisement

The latest from america

So what does it matter what a celibate woman thinks about contraception?
Helena BurnsJuly 20, 2018
Former US President Barack Obama gestures to the crowd, during an event in Kogelo, Kisumu, Kenya, Monday, July 16, 2018. (AP Photo Brian Inganga)
In Johannesburg, Obama gave what some commentators consider his most important speech since he vacated the Oval Office.
Anthony EganJuly 20, 2018
With his "Mass," Leonard Bernstein uses liturgy to give voice to political unease.
Kevin McCabeJuly 20, 2018
Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, retired archbishop of Washington, arrives for the Jan. 6 installation Mass of Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark, N.J. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)
Women often “bring up the voice of those who are the most vulnerable in our society,” says Hans Zollner, S.J., who heads the Centre for Child Protection in Rome.