Certain Things

By David Brendan Hopes

Featured Art: Tinker with His Tools by Camille Pissarro, 1874/76

For the sake of my father, certain things
must be done in a certain way:
tightening of bolts, of nuts around threads;
coiling of hoses; firm, instant replacement of lids;
spreading of seed from the hand held just so,
in furrows dug to the joint or the knuckle, depending;
wash it when you use it, never put it up wet;
don’t be opening and closing the screen door
as if you were a cat.
Be grateful for a job, a meal, a leg up.
All that.
In the seasons set aside for such emotions,
of course I hated him.
All things, even hatred, wear away.
In the season set aside I became him,
doing what he did in the way he did it,
hiding the injured heart the way he hid it.
Waking so many hours before full day
from the dream
that something certain’s gone astray.


Poet and playwright David Brendan Hopes has surprised himself by publishing three novels in two years. These include The Falls of the Wyona from Red Hen Press; Night, Sleep, and the Dreams of Lovers from Black Mountain Press; and The One with the Beautiful Necklaces from Moonshine Cove.

Originally appeared in NOR 20.

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