My father could take apart a dryer,
said to my mother: you’re the only one who can handle me,
which meant: I’m a motherfucker and I love you,
a more difficult sound to form on the tongue.
The ear doesn’t do enough work in fatherhood.
My father listens to birds feeding,
the emphasis on waiting.
He’s trying to teach me something
about losing him, but I can’t hear it.
Inside the sound is the name
for the ability to take apart a dryer,
making sure the power’s in the right place,
disconnected, then connected.
“Father Sounds” first appeared in Beloit Poetry Journal, Vol. 70, No. 1.