Chores

When the Winken Blinken days were gone,
defiance became my middle name.
Dad and I met only over floor tile and paint –
chores well done.

We’d visit the lumber yard, select
pine to fashion Adirondack chairs
to grace the deck, unaffected
by wind and rain.

Rising early, the bay quiet, we’d share coffee
from a pot that sat – stacked silver orbs –
on the counter – and discuss our day’s
plans, make notes.

I’m an ecstatic sander – a lover of latex.
All my life – one gallon at a time
I paint my way back
to my father’s heart.

SPELLING LESSONS

Father would quiz me at the dinner table
on my academic failings.
“What’s the capital of Wisconsin?” he’d inquire as I mixed peas into my mashed potatoes.
“Where’s Patagonia?” he’d demand as I twirled spaghetti onto my fork.
“Spell squirrel.” he’d order as I lifted a forkful of pot roast to my lips.
My mind would freeze – my brain become empty as a clear frozen lake
and the scared rabbit of my heart would skitter across the ice seeking shelter.
Finally I ‘d pull from somewhere
“S-Q-U-I-R-R-E-L”
and the meal would resume its course.
To this day, I prefer to eat alone and
direct questions hit me like the Artic Express,
blasting away all thought.
People think I’m arrogant or not-too-bright.
They can’t see that small rabbit
skating frantically for the far shore.