Every year, another prediction that this will be the year Mt. Rainier finally covers the state in lava. Every year, the same daylight savings jokes, told anew. An hour here, an hour there, your mom never said about anything. Every washed-in-the-gold-of-the-sun evergreen, dipped in lava. Every morning, the “bad boys, bad boys…” song stuck in your head, for as long as Cops has been on the air. Only, specifically, the warble of the song from the specific episode of Cops filmed in your home town. Only, specifically, everything once described as “gold,” all now dipped in lava. The Midwest has no lava. New England has no lava. The entire eastern seaboard, covered in lava. The entire west coast, covered in tornadoes. The homesick feeling, at 11 am the first Tuesday of every month, at the absence of your college town’s tornado siren.
It took me a long time to make the distinction
Between fatherhood and fatherness.
Last winter, a tree fell in our backyard. Or, not
A tree, but a branch. A piece of a thing
Is not the thing. Still, a just a little further this way
Kind of thing. There’s more to suffix
Than appendage. A branch large enough to require
A chainsaw purchase. A purchase
Reminiscent enough of my own father to make me
Think, had I only made such a purchase
Sooner, I would have had a better understanding
Of things, myself. Sometimes it’s semantics,
and sometimes you take a thing apart until you
really figure it out. More often than not,
you never figure anything out, but it doesn’t hurt
to take things apart regardless.
Aaron Burch is the author of the story collection Backswing (Queen’s Ferry Press), and the poetry chapbook Between Buffalo and Bison (Publishing Genius Press). He is also the Founding Editor of HOBART: another literary journal. He tweets at @aaron__burch