After a week of rain, I tell the house painters
not to forget the cornice behind the hanging gutters.
They have not gotten to them yet
they reassure me with no hint of apology.
I am not deeply concerned as I have neglected
to put the top tightly on the trashcan
and raccoons or opossums have scattered
the contents around the yard.

Wisdom comes in many small lessons:
I make jokey excuses to my teenagers,
but they ignore me. Forget it, I say
back-tracking with a goofy dad’s embarrassment.
The painters are done and gone before I know it.