THE ROUTINE: PICK UP FROM PRESCHOOL

 

There are so many mothers

that could give a shit

about including a father

 

in any sort of play group

or car pool scenario

& that is fine with me.

 

My son & I, we play

longer on the playground.

We have McDonald’s

 

in the Kia while they apple

slice their kids to death.

We head to the movies

 

& we go bowling

& he’s never asked me to

wear yoga pants to fit in

 

& I love him for that one.

Fathers are always less than

to a mother that is everything

 

to her children.  I find no fault

in that.  It would be nice

if they said hello back.

 

THE ROUTINE: LUNCH ON THE FLOOR

 

My son is brilliant.  He is a mad boy

that jumps off of book shelves

& does second grade math

 

while he tells the doctor

at the hospital that he just turned

five.  It’s incredible.  Surely,

 

the concussions will slow him down

eventually, but until then we eat

our pepperoni sandwiches

 

with Animaniacs on most days,

because you cannot build Rome

at all anymore, so we try to slow

 

things down as much as we can.

He still wants to know

why nobody else in his class

 

can count by thirteens past a hundred

& I just want to know if he could put

some clothes back on while we eat.

 

He likes to be naked when he

sings the theme song.  He’s a hero

to me already.  I root endlessly for him.

 

THE ROUTINE: CLEAN THE BATHROOMS

 

I grew up with men

that shuddered

at dirty toilets

 

& expected

& yelled at women

that didn’t clean them

 

often enough.

I’m a real disappointment

to all of them

 

& I don’t care at all.

I clean because I can

& I do all the work,

 

because I’m not so sure

it matters what sort

of man that makes me

 

& I’m not even sure

it matters at all

what gender I am.

 

I work.  I stay sober.

I do not pause in front

of slight challenges.


Darren Demaree’s poems have appeared, or are scheduled to appear in Diode, Meridian, New Letters, Diagram, and the Colorado Review. 

He’s the author of six poetry collections, most recently ‘Many Full Hands Applauding Inelegantly’ (2016, 8th House Publishing). His seventh collection ‘Two Towns Over’ was selected as the winner of the Louise Bogan Award by Trio House Press, and is scheduled to be released in March of 2018. He is the Managing Editor of the Best of the Net Anthology and Ovenbird Poetry. 

H lives and writes in Columbus, Ohio with his wife and children.