~This poem previously appeared in Alimentum (2010).
Contest of Wills
Unwilling to eat the pea soup,
I sat at the kitchen table facing my father,
who, at thirty-five, was more powerful
than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings
at a single bound.
I tried sobbing, my head bobbing
pitifully over my shallow chest; but inexorably,
he continued to read the Chicago Sun Times.
Our wills and the soup between us petrified,
the ham pieces becoming aggregates
for geologists to discover ages hence
while unearthing the ancient Windy City,
and discovering two perfectly preserved figures
of father and son sitting at a table
with a single spoon and common bowl between them.
And, as we contested, Hyakutake streaked across the night sky,
The Millennium turned, The Second Coming came and went,
and the Chicago Cubs won The World Series.
The universal clock continued to tick away:
eleven, twelve, one a.m.,
when suddenly, my father’s head dipped.
Our eyes met. Resigned, yet undefeated,
he said, “Get to bed.”
Old enough now to be father to the man,
I rose silently, and passing behind his chair,
gently trailed my fingers across his back.