before father’s day
somewhere between skim milk and applesauce
i buy the cards.
i turn stuttering wheels on a cart filled
with groceries and girls
that wilt as they wait for me
i hurry, because after four errands,
the clock is ticking on our patience,
the pin pulled from the grenade
and discarded somewhere between the gas pump
and the recycling bin.
i scan the rack, and amidst
Dad to Daughter,
From Your Little Girl,
i find a card for my husband to send
(one for him to receive)
and clatter toward the express lane.
i buy the cards,
but he sends them
with my reminder.
except when he doesn’t,
except when they languish on the counter
all day until the mail’s come and gone
and I explode:
he doesn’t understand, as I do,
that it’s too late.