Father and Son
They both know the difficulty of painting is prep work.
And in July’s apathy they scrape patches of sky from a house’s body
Pour piles of pale slivers from drop cloths,
Sweep cloud chips from sidewalks, sand stubborn clumps
Of paint, erase years the house had endured, the body of seasons
It satisfied. Their fingers ache,
Their shadows burn. They caulk and prime
And sit in the grass to eat cold sandwiches. They smoke
While the sun glares off their painter’s whites.
And when evening comes deliberate and resigned
Like a young man approaching his life, they undo
The day’s equipment: fold drop cloths, clean brushes,
Hide the paint in the shed. This is what a son can share
With a father: the muscle’s simple elegy,
The litany of coffee, aspirin, water, beer, the slow churning
Of truck tires going home.
Originally published in the Blue Collar Review