Some things, they say, one should not write about. I tried to help my father comprehend the toilet, how one needs to undo one’s belt, to slide one’s trousers down and sit, but he stubbornly stood and would not bend his knees. I tried again to bend him toward the seat, and then I laughed at the absurdity. Fathers and sons. How he had wiped my bottom half a century ago, and how I would repay the favor if he would only sit. Don’t you — he gripped me, trembling, searching for my eyes. Don’t you — but the word was lost to him. Somewhere a man of dignity would not be laughed at. He could not see it was the crazy dance that made me laugh, trying to make him sit when he wanted to stand.
From Sea Salt: Poems of a Decade: 2004–2014, by David Mason (Red Hen Press, 2014). Reprinted by permission of the author.