Register Thursday | June 27 | 2019

You Wake Your Father to Take You to the Washroom at Night

A poem

You lose track of how many times you chicken out.
In the dark campsite, you move to, then don’t, wake
your father up. You’ve held it as long as you can
whispering Dad inaudibly, afraid of him hearing.
His eyes finally open, sunk, pink-glossed. Princess
and the pea-sized bladder. Your words, not his. He says
nothing, steps over the boys, fumbles the sandals.
Once, halfway down the trail, he is cut
by a tree. Cursing in French, he points the pin
of light on his centimetre scrape, leaves you
blind on the trail ahead of him.

This is the worst.
The wind gets cold.

On the toilet, his French
loops through your head.
Outside he waits, spotlighting
a luna moth on the wood door.

What is that? you ask.

It’s a luna, he says, then
just breathes.

When they grow up, they have no mouth.