Sunday mornings were a showcase of the best oddities:
songs about dogs and petticoats, one jumping up the other;
Christopher Columbus with a typo on his broken dock;
and the faithful heralding warcry of bratwurst on the grill.
Feigning sleep to escape having to feign laughter
was a morning prayer to a sympathetic divinity of embarrassment,
yet the lens of memory clarifies the eccentricities of the father,
rendering evident the infectiousness inevitably overwhelming,
appearing like an old friend I had forgotten I’d forgotten about,
the embarrassment then turning to shame at trying to repress it all.
Now, your birth less than a calendar flip away,
the songs filter back with new verses and choruses, improved refrains,
Sunday mornings skirting through on Wednesday afternoon,
the bathroom mirror unearthing that fear of so long ago
about how far the apple falls from the bag of chips.
No, the bag was crumbled by the tree of chips, or something similar.
I asked the garden gnome your mother bought if he knew,
but he laughed and tried to throw his mushroom at me.
I’ve asked why, but he says he can’t be bothered with me,
the flower needs tending if it’s going to grow here.
I point out that there’s no flower near him, only you in the womb,
but it only makes him laugh all the more hysterically.
I’ll confront him tonight while fishing out my keys and say
“Do you think it’s funny that I’m not a gnome?”
“No,” he’ll say under his dwarf hat. “But talking to a gnome is odd.”
I’ll decide that he’s got me there, and unlock the door
to the smell of your mom cooking our dinner, imagining bratwurst
and that ancient herald singing loudly through a child’s voice:
“Newports are having Johnsonville brats!”