Dads Digging Holes
Here we are digging holes.
I’ve got mine. And you’ve got yours.
Aint it true.
I’m digging mine, well, because of my daughter. And you, your—
My only son.
The two men set to work on their holes again after a sweat break. The one, the father of a son, took his winter coat off and threw it a little ways away from the hole. The other, the father of a daughter, liked to overheat, kept his jacket on but removed his hat and gloves.
If they came to a rock, they dug it out, kept his rocks by his hole, kept his clothes under his rocks.
My only son is cruel. I can’t stand it. He kept poking his fingers in the cat’s ears. The cat was dying. Hissed, couldn’t hardly move. I told him stop, but every chance he got...
No, there’s nothing worse than a daughter. You’re cursed to want her and want her and want her. She gets all these little changes. And you want her even more. Want every inch of her.
By now both coats were off. The man with the daughter in his flannel undershirt stained with sweat and the man with the son, his shirt too drenched. Their holes now up to their noses. Had to more or less shout just to communicate.
Horrible, the father of a daughter. All I think, all day and all night, What if she comes in? What if she crawls into my bed? What will I do? The man pauses, stares over the handle end of his shovel.
Pity me the father of a son, the father of a killer I’ve brought into the world.
A little water spilled onto each man’s head. The tide’d rushed up and surprised them.
They got out from their holes and laid their shovels aside. The men yelled a few last things to each other and jumped into their separate holes, each man hunched in his own hole with his own rocks in his lap.
The waves came up, as prettily as they do, and filled the holes full, water and sand.
Bobby is a bookseller at Powell’s Books in Portland, Oregon. He runs Deep Overstock and 1001 Journal. He has stories in Portland Review, SUSAN/The Journal, Fiction Southeast, fog machine. His website is roberteversmann.com