The Game My Daughter Hates
She gets angry
whenever I pretend to close the door on my face
or fake tripping while carrying a tray of food.
Same thing when I wander the house
in search of the kitchen, then shout: “Found it!”
Or when I appear to fall asleep in mid-sentence
or offer her a handful of ice, lamenting
when she refuses, “But it’s going to melt.”
And when I make soup, boiling it out of the pot
because I’m busy with other dinner chores
or when I fill the pool and get caught up
with ranch work or writing, so the patio floods
or when I ask, “What day is it?” and she says,
“Friday,” and I tell her, “That can’t be right,”
or when I send her a present from someone called
Morris, who I struggle to remember, then proceed
to recount his whole life story and why he is now
living in Guam or possibly South Dakota
or when I cuddle with her dog, Sunny (who loves me
because I always give him part of my meals), and ask,
“What’s his name?” Or if I squint at her, cock my head,
say, “You look so familiar.”
She stomps her foot, says, “Daddy, stop that!
We won’t know when you actually lose your mind.”
I smile: mission accomplished.
William Harry Harding has written three novels – Rainbow, Young Hart, Mill Song – and a children’s book – Alvin’s Famous No-Horse – all from Henry Holt. The founder of Garden Oak Press, he publishes the San Diego Poetry Annual and serves as the Chairman of the San Diego Entertainment + Arts Guild (SDEAG), a nonprofit that sponsors the Steve Kowit Poetry Prize. His recent Pushcart Prize-nominated short fiction and poetry has appeared in The Paterson Literary Review and LIPS Magazine.