Wool Socks

My father taught me to recognize
The faint jangled vibrato discord of a spent incandescent bulb
He saved these bulbs so that he could teach me to darn my socks.

He didn’t use the same needles that my mother used.
He didn’t use the same thread.
He sang and whistled.

He asked me what I was doing...
Where I was...
When I wore holes through my wool socks.
I was…

Wandering along the gray irrigation ditch road
Carrying a stick. Followed by my mutts. Smooth river pebbles
Piled in my pockets. Pretending.
Pretending to be Spanky, Darla, Alfalfa.
He let me pull arms lengths of thread from the spool
It took quite a bit of practice to snip the threads cleanly with my even front teeth

Selling seed packets to my grandmothers and grandfathers
Inspired by black and white ads
At the ends of comic book adventures.
I wet the uneven thread ends with spit
Bringing the wet ends to a point between my lips

I was riding the bike that he helped me build
From parts we found at the trash dump
From parts that I bought from the scrap metal guy
A dime for each glass soda bottle
I enjoyed watching the caked sand
Melt from the glass
In water
It made him laugh when I exaggerated
When I scrunched up one eye and stuck out my tongue
While I threaded the big eyed blunt needles

I remember the day
We found the basket for the front
The dump smelled like rotting flesh. It smelled like burning trash.
I was cultivating another hole in my right sock.
The basket corner was as beautiful and precise as any elbow
I used my stick to scrape and pry it from the dirt
He showed me how to anchor and span strands of warp
Across the severed thread chasms.
Threads kept loose

My favorite dog learned to ride in that basket.
She was my constant companion
Silent witness to the erosion of my wool socks
Until a cruel Aunt shot her in a fit of drunken ennui
He told me to be patient
He told me to be precise
While I stepped the weft across
While I closed the gaps worn through wool socks by my adventures