“Is There Anything I Can Do” by Jeff Tigchelaar

Jeff Tigchelaar


Today again I found myself unable
to answer a simple question from my daughter

(((((What makes the wind)))))

also I improperly wiped my son’s nose
I’m told

dragged snot
all across
his face
I’m told I need to learn how to           pinch
well speaking of which
yesterday I zipped 
his neck into his coat poor kid I didn’t know
till he gathered                his breath
started shrieking kept clutching
his throat yes I tried unzipping it wouldn’t come he just
screamed louder cried harder people gathered
to check out the racket           Libby
from the duplex stood staring
both hands covering her mouth          Is there anything
I can do       she eventually hollered           ever
the helpful neighbor
Libby could you tell me
what makes the wind
       Libby I don’t know
how to pinch

but then
I knew
I would have to hurt my son again
to help him

I braced his body pinned his arms
pulled down
hard on the zipper

and then to his pain and his rage
was added incomprehension

it shot across his face as he looked at me helpless
as he looked with a fierce and a
temporary hate
because this time the zipper came down
came undone from his skin praise
God Hey Libby
I think we got it I said

I zipped up his neck        I added
in case she hadn’t gathered

from Rattle #71, Spring 2021


Jeff Tigchelaar: “I hope the pleasure my kids and I experienced when this poem got accepted outweighs or at least somehow balances out the pain I caused my son (and others) in the scene depicted.” (web)

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