Father the chameleon was lime green
the first day I saw him peering into
my crib smiling and he remained
lime green until kindergarten
when a nun called the house and said
I was disrupting the class and would
he come and have a talk with her.
He remained wildfire red until
the college he paid big money to
expelled me as a senior for sending
chickens clucking in big crates
to a French professor who gave me
a B instead of an A, thereby killing
my chance for an Ivy League law school.
When I got home and told Father
his face glowed purple as eggplant
and he began taking huge pills
day and night, even when a small
law school finally gave me a chance.
The day I passed the bar exam Father
was whiter than his pills in his coffin.
As the father of five, the author knows well that
fathers aren’t always easy to get along with, and
while much in this poem is autobiographical and
sounds as though his father was difficult, the author
would give anything to have him alive and peering
around corners again to make certain everything was
up to snuff.