he waited today
as he had for years
for some nod
pass the corn, dad
which he did without
looking up from his plate.
did the wind do any damage?
his dad grunted.
following his dad into the bathroom
before his own whiskers appeared—
watched him shave from the toilet seat.
never looked his way
as he patted on mennen aftershave—
silently headed out to finish dressing.
he knew he’d get the strap
if he came home late
if he back-talked
if he had let the fields flood
if his gopher traps came up empty
if his furrows weren’t straight
and grades, the grades, always the grades.
he resigned himself
he would not ever be good enough
yet, this Christmas
as if he were seven.