Fatherhood, Beginnings


Sometimes when I’ve been sitting in
a different room for a while
I forget I have a child.

Then I wander into the humidified air,
feel the softness of the blue rug
between my toes
and place my hand upon his rising chest.

What will I tell my son
when he asks if I am happy?
All summer I mowed the lawn like my father
in shorts and socks pulled taut to the knee.

I want to tell the girl across the street
to quit smoking,
to straighten her shoulders when she walks,
to stop shuffling her feet.