Fathers and Sons


on the morning we turned 22 as parents,

a remembering cardinal was singing the sweetest solo

high in the bare backyard trees above it all, approving

— I wish I could sing like that —

and at the end of that long, low Monday,

waiting at the dining room table for the guest of honor,

who was in the living room so he could watch the championship tip,

we remembered how he kept us waiting 22 years ago,

Karry expecting him on her mom’s birthday

— she knew from cardinals, too —

he arriving in his own sweet time 12 days later,

and keeping his own clock ever since

so with his Oreo ice cream cake starting to weep,

he took his seat at his end of the table

behind the humble stack his little sister wrapped for him (and us)

as his mother lit his two “2” too stubborn candles,

which promptly began to melt the flowers

rimming his waiting cake

and, no cardinals we, sang him his song

but before he drew his breath deep,

he took his own sweet time,

long enough to get it just right,

before puffing them out,