My Name in Sticks
for my father
From the shallow sledding hill I gathered up
the straightest twigs. I snapped the pile across
my knee to spell it out atop a stoop
that was, until the spring before, my throne
to hold high court and hose the wayward pups
and ragamuffin twerps spurred on by the loss
of baseballs in our onion grass. Through croup
and flu my calls gunked up our rented phone
and through your bedroom blinds I saw them stalled,
my first grade autumn red on your machine.
Years later, drunk, you cackled at the sprawl
November wind had made of all but D.
I pedaled twelve blocks back to brave the belt
your woman used to write your name in welts.