He hadn't a notion
what was beyond the daily
obituaries and his job.

At the kitchen table
under a pine Camel pack
dispenser, he sat

under the clock.
A small man, but smooth,
my father affected yellow

old guy hair and work clothes.
He owned twos: two pair of shoes,
Romeos and steel-toed

brogans. Two hats,
a straw and a fedora.
Two lives: a

this one I knew, and
a that one I didn't.
In this one

he slept until noon
and was soon gone.
In that one

he lingered with women
who wore other
than housedresses.

In this one, he didn't figure.
In that one,
I guess, yeah, he did.

Who's to know?
But I can guess:
Butt of jokes,

everyone's old man, asshole?
these are his fingers

trying to twirl the micrometer,
his eyes losing depth
perception, knees shaking

in the oily pit to which
he succumbs finally. Which dad,
whose lank, dead body is lifted

to the ceiling
where dirty flourescent lights
light up his fine Janus face?

Copyright 1995 Danny Rendleman