How to Make Fatherhood Lyrical

I could describe the arc of piss
as sanctifying the changing table

or argue that his wailing resembles
a certain style of opera—

one develops a taste for its peaks
as evidence of proper training,
the cultivation of a gift.

I might tell you that when the dog
tugs the leash in one direction

and the stroller rolls in the other
it’s similar to the push and pull

of family and vocation, and each
in turn alters its course.

Surely I’d research and touch on
why gerbils eat their young

and moose will charge if you dare step
between mother and calf.

But none of this is the truth
I tell myself or don’t,
depending on the morning:

it’s not a set of lyrics, it’s prose—
as in pedestrian, a man

on foot, not some freak stallion,
not a Clydesdale, not even a draft—

and every day I have to choose
whether to write myself in.


Appeared originally in Words & Images.