Dad’s Second Canvas
My father doesn’t understand small scale.
His preferred medium, sculpting softwood
logs with a chainsaw, his first painting:
a 32” X 40” anybody-can-do-that piece
of abstract expressionist splatter.
I asked for it to encourage new exploration.
It hangs in my stairwell, peripherally
gathering dust while our lives pass by.
Dad hung his second and last canvas,
in his childhood home for his mother
after his father’s death. It was an if-
coaxing her toward a new hobby—an
edge- to- edge
close-up of a stand of white birch trunks huddled
together during harsh winter in which one of their number
succumbed, snapping in a freeze/
thaw/freeze cycle after enduring a lifetime bending
in shifting winds.
Grammie followed Grampa before her heart surgery
ended. The brushed birch returned to the artist, who
propped it appropriately near a his wood stove until it
sustaining a perfect, 90-degree incision. Dutifully patched,
it hangs unceremoniously beside the downstairs commode,
continuing to float through the dust of unassuming lives.
calcium cogs making
miniature crystal movements
bug legs exploring
dirt, then walls