In my mind I call my father
the pollyfilla king, watch
with something akin to awe
as he begins the arduous process
of filling in the gaps, the long-winded
cracks that travel down the walls of my house
like run-on sentences.

From the sidelines I watch as he trudges
up and down the stairs, carrying
with nonchalance an industrial-sized bucket,
shiny spatula tucked into back pocket
for easy access.

Over and over again
with precision and grace
he fills and smooths and sands
as if filling in all of the empty crevices
with the words he didn’t know how to say,
the lost syllables and consonants springing up
from the bucket, stubbornly announcing themselves
home, until there is only smoothness,
my fifty-eight-year-old house a perfect sentence,

the veritable sheen of its walls
privy to this father of mine,
whose love keeps him moving
from room to room, brightly asking,
Do you think you’ll be painting the other room
upstairs sometime? I could start work on it now.
Then it’ll be ready for painting.

Yes, I say, yes
my face aglow.

From Chasing Halley’s Comet, Federation of B.C. Writer’s Festival of the Arts Contest Winners

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