Shit Happens


Young lady, Luna

Diane, this shitty gift

of a black-assed poem

upon the birth of your baby


girl, is sadly the best

I think I can do. Of course

my sister wouldn’t agree.

Your grandmother


began parenting

as a teenager, too.

It was what she wanted

to do, raise babies


on slobber and hope.

Now the prevailing wisdom

is to wait until you’re forty.

I believe it is most wise


not to advise, but to live

and let live, empathize,

realize everybody loves,

works, and dies.


My Old Man used to say,

“You can shit me, but

you can’t shit yourself.”

He didn’t believe life


had any meaning, really,

at least not in the crowd

pleasing dogma of the church.

He figured we were here


for no particular reason

we could comprehend,

that our lives mattered

only to us. He was awed


by the miracle of existence.

It was the damnedest thing,

from the Grand Canyon

to the birth canal.


He was a pragmatist,

a self-taught historian

and scientist. He questioned

everything, the devil’s


advocate. Your great-grandfather

was a pain in the ass, a truth

teller who believed in justice

and unions—be fair or fight.


He taught me the best we can do

is take care of each other,

and that’s what mothers do best.

My mother, your mother,


your grandmother, my wife,

all mothers never leave

their children, and fathers

remain long after they’re gone.


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