The Sea Lions
JESUS H. CHRIST my dad says and I have no idea what it is. Me maybe, or the newspaper he is reading. He is reading the newspaper with his coffee and spinning the ring on his finger. It is a class ring, this ring on his finger, and he spins it so that if I watch it and him I see the blue of the jewel and then the silver underneath. Blue, silver, blue, silver. Like that. Spinning.
His coffee, my dad, it is also shaving cream and hot water, oil and beer coming from his skin. My dad. JESUS H. CHRIST and I am confused, the paper maybe but I tried to read the news once and couldn't, there was nothing in there for me to care about, I didn't care. LOOK AT THAT he goes on and then I know it isn't me. He wouldn't say that at me, unless I had dropped the pitcher of juice on our hard wooden floor, the kitchen, and it had spilled up and to the cupboard, broken over the dishwasher and the oven, glass everywhere. Him, my dad, using all the other words then, when I did that, words spinning like his ring.
Circles is what my dad goes in, my mom, these sea lions pacing their own water. So then it is their house, our house, the rooms that they circle in like it is their own water. Saying things that I am not supposed to hear but can't avoid, our house so small, pinching into my ears even when I cover them and try not to listen. Sea lion barking, like harsh, like that.
I have looked at his ring when he leaves it some days on the nightstand, the table by his side of the bed. The blue and the silver. The jewel in it smooth and always cold, when it is not on his finger. And it says his high school's name and the year he left it, the school, the year he married my mom and they started thinking about me. That is what he says, I GOT THIS RING JUST BEFORE WE STARTED THINKING OF YOU. My dad, he says that.
But when they pace and circle, going always like the sea lions in this water, the rock middle that they go around, I wish they would stop thinking of me. DO YOU WANT JONAH TO HEAR THAT. DO YOU WANT JONAH TO GROW UP LIKE THAT. DO YOU WANT JONAH TO SEE YOU, SEE THIS, GO LIKE WE GO. These are all questions I try not to think about. I don't know the answers. That's why I looked into the paper that morning, one morning, looking for answers. But there was just news I didn't care about, nothing about me in there, no matter what.
So it is maybe in his coffee, my dad's, the answers somewhere down below the oil and shaving cream, the spinning words or his ring. I will look sometime, check. I will drink it and find my own pacing, my own circles like these sea lions, their constant moving around the rocks. I will look the next time, down into it, for some kind of answers to all those questions they ask.
words: J.A. Tyler, Colorado (aboutjatyler)
image: Jeff Crouch, Texas (more)
another coffee/ocean mood: morning in North Carolina