Watching My Son with His Dog – by Cecil Morris

He told me I’m okay, dad,
but I know the whole truth
as he bends to his first hard job,
fifteen and facing this loss
like a man. I know his muscles
in each contraction and release,
in each effort at burial,
in plunge and lift of shovel,
will fold and smooth and keep
these long hours in memory,
the dumbest part of him,
shaped like an old shoe
to familiar feet,
shaped like the dog bed with her curl
of devotion empty now.
I know how hard the earth is here
and that his palms will blister
before he finishes.
I know.

Cecil Morris wiles away his retirement—after 37 years of teaching high school English!— reading, writing, and riding the bike that doesn’t move through scenery of podcasts and boredom. Right now, he might be reading Louise Erdrich or Sharon Olds (or David Kirby or Tony Hoagland or Maggie Smith) or trying to learn the names of all the birds that visit the yard he shares with his indulgent partner, mother of their children. He has poems appearing in Cobalt Review, Ekphrastic Review, Evening Street Review, Hole in the Head Review, Talking River Review, and other literary magazines.