There isn’t one photo of my dad
in this house. In the garden, he builds
a trellis for purple perennials and leaves
a sifter heavy with dirt. He’ll tell you
how he plants his cherry tomatoes once
a year if you ask him about his life. He’ll
tell you that a father’s duty is provision
if you ask him why. Nothing he says to me,
lasts. My mother yells at him
for tracking dirt into our house.
Men give love in provisional ways.
My grandpa, a butcher, only carved time
for throwing footballs in the street.
My dad, a math teacher, taught me
efficiency through division
problems in our living room.
The tomatoes die each fall.
I leave leftovers for my dad
in the microwave. I put his pajamas back
in his armoire. I watch the tomato skin wilt
on the vines. I sit on my knees and scrub
the carpet for hours, the tracks so deep.
I can’t tell if they are coming out.
Memory & The Past
visually descriptive or figurative language, especially in a literary work
a figure of speech in which a part is made to represent the whole or vice versa