Digital Image, 2014. Google internet search for “Family Photo”, using Photoshop’s content-aware fill I removed all dads.
Dying is such an irresponsible thing for a father to do.
People do not laugh at our dead dad jokes.
Dying is easy, but comedy is hard.
You make art about elision and absence,
the unsayable and the image erased.
I write poems about all the men I’ve used
as placeholders—men as cardboard cutouts,
men as presence and noise and collage.
We walk around and wonder aloud
if the dead can love you back, I mean, really
love you back and we are funny
because we seek out the dad-shaped
holes to find in the world:
at the Home Depot buying supplies
for tree houses and koi ponds;
at every wedding, lumbering down aisles;
later, doing the Funky Chicken.
The atmosphere of every reading,
graduation, school play,
feels drafty, a bit
windblown, what with all
the dad-shaped holes milling about.
We find ourselves overcome by boxes
of uneaten jelly donuts and bear claws.
We spot battery-operated Christmas tree neckties
winking from the windows of skylines
and we sometimes, momentarily,
wake in the hold of baby blue velour recliners,
cradling the wind
upon which we rest our heads.