My father at the piano composing.
I, a boy not yet three, imagining
all fathers composers.
Surprised to find otherwise.
That all fathers don’t sing.
Or stay home and write songs.
Or plant black dots
in a thicket of black lines,
and call it “music”.

Now six, and facing
for the first time the question,
What does your father do?
He’s a composer, I say,
eager to impress.
Yes, but what does he do?
As if it’s not what fathers do.
The question haunts me,
sets me apart
all my growing up.

Born in the right century,
I’d fast-forward to YouTube’s
timeless, almost infinite stage.
See my six-year-old self
flash a cell phone.
Scroll past singers,
musicians who recorded
“All or Nothing at All”.
The song that launched
Sinatra’s career.

My last name I’d match
with the composer’s.
The song one of hundreds
he wrote in a lifetime.
My dad, with a real job,
would be like your dad.
And I would be
without question
a little boy like you.