Those who work two jobs, who bring home
bologna instead of steak. Telemarketers
who sit in cubicles and fail to meet quotas.
Rough and burly construction guys in orange
vests and hard hats, climbers up to rooftops
in record heat, or drive for EMSA to rescue
idiots who bleed hazardous waste and ask
what happened to their cell phones, yes
even that guy with four at home. For dreamers
and schemers, halfway believers now past forty
with maxed out credit, nothing turning out
as they imagined. Dads who chastized
offspring, barely recalling which had freckles
because they have no say-so anymore,
wives getting out just in time, everything
turning out wrong for them as well—But this
is for fathers, even the wild and untamable,
even fathers with feathers.
Let’s hear it for swan cobs who paddle
all night in cold ponds to guard the nest;
for owls who bring mice in repeated
night flights; for sunny neon hummers
who do nothing helpful after sex,
zipping off to snack petunia baskets
hanging on the porch. Cheer for champion
father of the year, downy woodpecker,
who hangs around to love—to love entirely
until fledglings safely away, then hammers
trunks of aging trees until the familiar headache
comes on, all this new loneliness.
Sandy Soli, writer and editor in Edmond, was a teaching artist and poetry editor for a decade. Her poems and fiction, appearing widely since the 1970's, include two award-winning chapbooks and an article on prose poems featured in Poet's Market. She enjoys collaborative projects with creatives in several disciplines.