“Three Meditations on Fatherhood” by Tyler Chadwick

I. Two Kitchen Floors and a Tea Party

Scrubbing the kitchen floor
on my hands and knees:

Dad walked in, looked down, said,
You’ll make someone a good wife

someday, then grinned. I shook my head,
laughed back, returned to searching

for my reflection
in linoleum.

Six-month daughter strapped to my chest,
three-year-old downstairs

in front of Sesame Street: I mopped
the kitchen floor, watching crumpets

rise in the oven because
she was playing tea party and I thought

for once
we should try them for real.

II. At the Grocery Store on a Midweek Afternoon

My cart loaded, infant and toddler in tow,
I stepped to the check-out stand. You playing Mom
the cashier asked. Looking up then down,
I wanted to strip myself, say, Did I wear my wife’s
breasts today? Slip on her episiotomy
with my underwear, her labor-wide hips
with my jeans? No wonder nothing fits. I must have
missed the mirror on our way out the door.
while unloading groceries on the conveyor belt, I
patronized her smile with mine and told her,
Something like that, though it was really nothing like that
(Dragoti’s Jack Butler got my arc wrong); then waited
for the price, paid, reloaded the cart, and gathered my girls
into the flaming circle of our mundanity.

One thought on ““Three Meditations on Fatherhood” by Tyler Chadwick”

  1. .

    This is predictably wonderful Tyler. It also ties into something I think about a lot, how parenting is often considered generically female. Take on his wife’s body seems a fitting symbol to reject that simplicity.

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