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Fatherhood

Fatherhood

Carol Frost

Shut up, the father thought amiably, moving past the children
akimbo on a lawn blanket arguing Scrabble rules. He sat in a
          chair and watched
over the top of the Times as his young sons' fortunes waxed and
          waned,
their skin flushed first with excitement, then regret.
The sun engoldened their hair. If childhood is a species of lord
and my wife is polity and exhaustion, am I a caretaker, middle-aged?
He surveyed his yard, purple irises hovering like small
          thunderheads above a bed
of stalks, the cement birdbath, and his dog creeping under the
          porch, and he sighed.
His back did hurt and his fingernails looked bad, but so what?
          He felt his love for them
in his throat. He knew he loved them. Still, at the edge of his
          consciousness
he heard it again like a weather warning, louder. Shut up, shut up.


Prairie Schooner, Vol. 69, No. 1 (Spring 1995), p. 56