I’ve tried to be pa

after Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prarie

I’ve tried to be pa,
lion locks and strong frame,
unironic frontier goodness
and unfaltering purpose,
his family-man fortitude
honed sundown to sunup
over a hand brushing a sweaty brow
and an honest day’s work
is measured in the loaves of wholesomeness
cooked by a woman whose heart
would only be his, and eaten by
three ruffian angels, his brood.

I’ve tried to be pa
as I make electronic doodles,
as the toaster frazzles
and my ruffian angel
refuses to eat her dinner,
as there is no sweat on my brow
and the honest question is:
how will my wife’s heart open,
as if tended all day by a loving plow,
or priced perfectly out of reach
at Oleson’s store?

I’ve tried to be pa
and lacked, lacked,
but not lacked necessity,
and on a good day,
after earning a day’s pay,
I’ve not lacked you.

~ Shane Neilson

Shane Neilson is to be published by Biblioasis in 2009.

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