Putting the Fun in Fungible

Some comedian has a one-liner about kids

being sent here to replace us. Nothing

is funny anymore. Some comedian.

Sometimes looking at my son

is like looking in a time-traveling mirror:

me at whatever age you have to be

to think a face lasts forever.

My son is handsomer than I am,

though I’m biased in his favor,

also he’s probably a nicer person,

so an upgrade for the world in the long run,

unless I bollocks it up for him. He carries

the dank sock smell of a 12-year-old

in a hurry and I don’t get to decide

when or whether he’ll outgrow it. Time

is one of those soul-sucking office jobs

where they make you train your replacement

before they freeze your passwords

and send a security guard

to watch you pack the family photos

on your desk, escort you

from the building. There’s not much to it:

help with homework until the homework

surpasses my abilities. Play catch

until twilight, wrestle in the living

room until he beats me. The work

would be pretty straightforward

if I weren’t so emotionally attached.

I’d like to think I’d get more credit for caring

but I told you he was in a hurry. I still need

to teach him to drive, to do his own laundry,

to strike a match, so many fires still

to start, they’re asking me to come

in early this morning to talk

about the future, I’m afraid there’s no good

way to say this, they’ve decided to go

in a new direction.

Amorak Huey, a 2017 National Endowment for the Arts Fellow in poetry, is author of the poetry collection Ha Ha Ha Thump (Sundress, 2015) and the chapbooks The Insomniac Circus (Hyacinth Girl, 2014) and A Map of the Farm Three Miles from the End of Happy Hollow Road (Porkbelly, 2016). He is also co-author with W. Todd Kaneko of the forthcoming textbook Poetry: A Writer’s Guide and Anthology (Boomsbury, 2018) and teaches writing at Grand Valley State University in Michigan.