Laurel and Hardy

It’s another nice mess they’re in. This time the boys
are working in a sawmill, and they’ve driven their car

through a band saw, splitting their differences.
Ollie fumes. Stan blinks and scratches his head.

My father, feet up in the La-Z-Boy, his skinny ankles exposed,
chuckles as he squints at the TV.

His shaggy hair’s uncombed, he hasn’t shaved
or spoken in three days. Now the sun breaks through.

This is the world he lives in, after all, the grainy past,
where everyone who splits up gets back together;

where everyone survives, like these two sports,
in thick and thin, pratfalling through a slapstick world

of doors slammed into noses, skillets over noggins;
where everything is black and white, and nothing

really hurts. All’s well that ends with The Cuckoo Song
as the aperture closes. By now my father is laughing so hard

the pink edge of his denture shows, his eyes are wet,
he’s wheezing. Another one, he gasps, let’s watch

another one. So I slide another disc into the slot.
This time the boys must deliver an upright piano

to a house at the top of a hill. They’re crouching on the sidewalk,
hefting the piano, at the bottom of a hundred steps.

DARYL JONES is a former Idaho Writer-in-Residence and past recipient of an NEA Fellowship.  His book Someone Going Home Late won the Natalie Ornish Poetry Award from the Texas Institute of Letters.  Recently, his poems have appeared in The American Journal of Poetry, The Gettysburg Review, New Ohio Review, Poet Lore, The Southern Review, Valparaiso Poetry Review, and elsewhere.