The National Catholic Review
Elizabeth Claverie

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.

he remembered
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
again, he
watched him
as if he were seven.

Elizabeth Claverie teaches language arts at Our Lady of Loretto School, Novato, in the Archdiocese of San Francisco. This poem was the second runner-up in the Foley Poetry Contest of 2012.

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