Iowa Writes

DANIELLE GASPARRO
Sawdust


I am watching my father
breathe
in the middle of the living room.
My father is
in the middle of the living room,
breathing,
in a bed.
    —I counted to eighteen that time,
    what did you get? . . .


The thick metal frame
of the bed my father is in
in the middle of the living room
is beige. One, two . . . six little nicks
with no story to tell trace along the footboard
edge. An impossibly large bronze
wheel carves its empty fable
into the sunstroked suburban shag.

Today is          Tuesday.
I arrived                              Friday.
    —He might just push through to the weekend.
    . . . Mind you, I'm not a doctor. . .

I am watching my father
breathe
in the middle of the living room.
My father is
in the middle of the living room,
breathing,
in a bed.
    —I counted to eighteen that time,
    what did you get? . . .


The thick metal frame
of the bed my father is in
in the middle of the living room
is beige. One, two . . . six little nicks
with no story to tell trace along the footboard
edge. An impossibly large bronze
wheel carves its empty fable
into the sunstroked suburban shag.

Today is          Tuesday.
I arrived                              Friday.
    —He might just push through to the weekend.
    . . . Mind you, I'm not a doctor. . .


I expected this gurgle. I read about it.
They call it a rattle. It sounds like a coffee-maker.
It's not a rattle. It's more of a gurgle, like a
coffee-maker, working fast. There is no
metaphor here. Here, where my father is
breathing. Only,
breathing. 
He loved coffee.    Loved, is how I think it.
    —Do you have a hairbrush, Danielle?

I find a picture of the dollhouse
my father built for me when I was eight.
I am in the photo, standing next to it.
Leaning on it. Arms folded, dimples
beaming pride.

      . . . Yes, my father built houses most of his life.
    When we were young,
    I always loved
    going to visit him
    at work . . .

My father is lifting and hinging a large wooden frame
into place as we pull up the makeshift drive. Workboots.
Tube socks. Toolbelt. Frayed, homemade jean shorts.
Two men are standing next to him, laughing. One pats
his shoulder—two taps—as my father passes by
to climb a ladder.

I get the lunch bags together.

This house will be our house, 
although it seems forever away.

We all stand and talk in the imaginary kitchen.
Bologna with mustard on stacks of raw plywood.
The sun pops out from behind a cloud, and
   
    —I got twenty-two that time, Danielle.
    What did you get? . . .

as my father unfastens his thermos cap (always
he does this too fast!),
we laugh,
and spying his ritual grimace-twist-and-spill,

      . . . the same, I guess. . . twenty-four, maybe. . .

I breathe in the sawdust.

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Happy National Poetry Month!

April is National Poetry Month! Celebrate the importance of poetry with us by reading work by Iowa-identified poets!

Learn more about National Poetry Month here.


DANIELLE GASPARRO

Wayfaring wordsmith and long-time songsmith Danielle Gasparro obtained her B.A. in Creative Writing in 2012.  Having done so at 42, leaping blindly from her native Big Apple to an apple orchard in Eastern Iowa seemed only logical.  Since alighting, she's been living the dreampoem, striving inside every bigblueorbit to be the greatest writer ever unknown.

We will be featuring the poems of Ms. Gasparro April 9th-11th as part of our celebration of National Poetry Month!

This is the second day of our celebration!  Self-Directed Study was published yesterday.

This page was first displayed
on April 10, 2014

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