we burn the winter away in the bottom half of an oil drum,
cut up the tree that took out our garage in the last nor’eastern,
neat quarter-circles with a chainsaw we borrowed from a neighbor.
dad drinks budweiser in his khaki shorts and steelers hat as he kindles
the fire, and i shovel the green brush into the barrel and then fall back
when the smoke plumes up charcoal black—each piece of nature
is a different color in its state of decay, and i never knew that before.
dad and i drink like we have been doing it for years.
i am home for spring break, and he looks at me like a grown up.
i look at him, and he has new crows feet and a receding hairline, but his
eyes are small and watery when he smiles wide, like he always does,
and he tell me stories, like how he met my mother
in a pizza shop in 1986 and fell in love with her when they drove
to the buzzards bay waterfront in that jaguar he bought to look cool.
i cut his hair in the kitchen while the fire dies down outside
and when i’m done, i pull the cape off him and watch
as all the gray fringe litters the floor. he pats one large,
wrinkled hand on mine as a thank you, and reminds me
that he used to cut my hair in the very same chair.
we are both getting older, but we are still making fires, telling stories.
i finish my beer and he says, pour us another.