God failed me when my burden weighed enough
to crack collarbones and split shoulder blades.
We got our marriage convalidated
when we got pregnant and although he was silent
for the first wedding he let us know how pleased
he was now. My unborn daughter metabolized her First
Communion and fed my father-in-law in turn
when his remission turned into recurrence.
You haven’t really bared yourself until you let
someone change your diaper. I practiced changing
diapers on my father-in-law before my daughter came
and brought me a year of blackness that I outran by working:
daycare drop-off, fought top-loaded agitator and side-loaded lint traps,
daycare pick-up, food-shopped, meal planned, and cooked, wrote
my wife’s cases before mine because she couldn’t yet,
Three promotions in two years seemed easier than stopping
to think. And now when I do, I just remember that I was alone
carrying his pyx, and given the choice I’d rather be Judas
than the one who ended on a crucifix.
Peter H. Michaels' poetry has appeared in or is forthcoming from Nimrod, The Operating System, Cagibi, and other places. His poetry book reviews have been published by PANK Magazine's blog and Sugar House Review. His website is peterhmichaels.com and he tweets from @dethmtlcardigan.