The second piece was the salvaged end of a first attempt. The first poem I feel much stronger for, as I do about most of the poems I write lately in which I struggle to understand how to live this new life as a father without feeling resentment at having lost something from my former, free and easy lifestyle.

the key is to remember
you are not alone
in your one-handedness

mothers, fathers
and caregivers
for thousands of years
have been doing
this

the key
is to think
each task through completely
to prevent your inevitable
inefficiency from becoming
overwhelming

the key
is to wash your hands
one at a time
of your stress
over the situation

the day’s doings
will be done, be it slower
much slower
than anticipated

the key
is to set small
goals

the key
is to take the time
to
stop
all this one handed
juggling
of life

all this responsibility
in one hand
baby in the other hoping
to
1. actually get the kitchen picked
up or your boots
put on instead of those slip on clogs (which
are not suitable footwear for Alaskan beaches)
so that you can walk the dogs
whose whining your are holding
in your third and fourth hands
and in the muscles
of your neck
and
2. not to drop your sweet, smiling,
I don’t care that you’re juggling me and life,
baby, who coos and caws
and only occasionally declares
“enough is enough, dad, stop
all this unessential crap and play
with me dammit!”

the key
is to think
it all through
and drop any idealizations
of clean floors
and just put your boots
on before putting
on the baby
so you can drop
the I-feel-like-a-fat-man
who-can’t-see-my-feet-dance
and get outside
where you don’t need hands
just legs
to walk
and eyes to take
it all in
and your poet’s voice
to translate
all into the language
your child understands

the key
is to smile with your eyes
laugh with your heart
and whenever possible, hold
what you love
with
two hands

___________

on this beach I found
a key
a rusty key

who knows
whose doors
it might open?
or engines it might start?

perhaps it once knew
just how
to turn
on
that seized up
barnacle covered
V8
half buried
by twenty years
of glacial sediment
septic outflow
and salmon carcass
rot

the key
to understanding just
what this carefully
cut piece of steel
may have opened
is to open oneself up
to all possibilities

for now
only those doors
which
open and close
on my imagination
are opened
by this mysterious
key

Reach out and touch someone....

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