and finally our daughter Anna made me a
ceramic St. Francis with a wolf and two birds.
She glazed them all in glossy pewter, like shiny metal.
so many pieces, impossible to glue.
Yet I kept St. Francis in our rock garden,
jagged arm stump jutting,
rationalizing: the break is symbolic –
we must be the arm of St. Francis.
I said no.)
In time, both birds fell off and
only the wolf remained his companion.
then last week Mike toppled him again.
This time when St. Francis fell, his head broke off.
and I was ashamed enough to grab
St. Francis and his head
and bring them into the house.
and ran to the basement to fetch the de-antlered buck
that Brian, our son, made so long ago,
carefully glazed to look real.
The buck’s place was my flower bed,
but somehow he too got broken.
I couldn’t display him that way,
and I hate to glue things,
so for years the deer remained on my laundry table,
his fawn beside him.
“Sure,” he said.
“I’ll help,” I told him,
hoping he wouldn’t need me,
because I don’t like to glue things.
he made models when he was a boy.
He used rubber bands to hold pieces together,
or held them with his fingers,
reading assembly directions while the glue dried.
he walked around town so he could listen to his corduroy knickers rub together.
He called them “whistle britches” because they squeaked like a whistle.
Mike pulled them apart without blood, but
it hurt and left a horrible glue residue
like dead skin.
I said, “I should stay away from glue.”
and didn’t glue my fingers together,
but soon realized we’re missing one whole antler.
After all our work,
the buck might have to resume laundry duty.
I can’t rationalize a one-antler buck in the flower bed,
even though antlers drop off in real life –
it just looks odd.
on his forehead and cowl.
After wrestling all the ear and antler pieces,
I was glad St. Francis had only one head
and it was in one piece.
but Anna made St. Francis when she was a little girl
and Brian made the buck when he was a little boy.
[This story-poem will be included in my
new book, Dessert First, out soon on