spring cleaning

June 29, 2020

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.

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