The two pools he built and skimmed each day
with his net before work, his shirt-sleeves rolled;
the basketball hoop he put up in the driveway,
sealing in creosote its wooden pole.

Or the skating rink that winter he froze
most of our yard, standing each night
in the cold dark for hours, the garden hose
in one hand, and in the other his flashlight

to ice our tracks smooth by morning those efforts
that always came with his grunts and his sighs,
his mumbled attacks on himself when the parts
didn't fit, his curses, then all his advice

and cautions afterward, trying to teach
the dangers of what he'd just made, a weight
I've long since lifted to see underneath
the gifts of a swim, the ball's swish, figure eights.

Elise Hempel

If you have any comments on this poem,   Elise Hempel would be pleased to hear from you.