Perfection by Nathaniel Sverlow


Perfection


now I’ve done it

snapping at my son

as he threw a wrench

at the television


my wife gave me

the look

then took him for a bath

and put him to bed early


I was in bed

when she emerged

from his room

it was close to midnight

and I had already slept

an hour or so


she did her best

to remain quiet

as she undressed

and slipped beneath

the covers

but I could see

the sporadic light

of her cell phone

as she moved


and when she got in

she faced away


so did I


it was another night

I had failed

to live up to my title

of father


I used to think

perfection

was solely the demand

of my own cruel father


as he’d poke me

and throw me

and push me

and punch me


but I’ve learned

otherwise


best to let

the television shatter

than pick up the pieces

of a broken family



Nathaniel Sverlow is a freelance writer of poetry and prose. He currently resides in the Sacramento area with three cats, one incredibly supportive wife, and a rambunctious son. His previous publishing credits include Typehouse Literary MagazineBlack Fox Literary Magazine, The Fiction Pool, Squawk Back, and Bone Parade. He has written two poetry books: The Blue Flame of My Beating Heart (2020) and Heaven is a Bar with Patio Seating (2021).