Elegy for My Father’s Labour

Hardhat ∴ life preserver

Wrench ≈ bouquet

Number of days present < early morning disappearances

Length of visits with children ÷ reciting of letters from home

Approximate value in electromagnets ± number of loads per expressway exit route

Deaf-mute in electrical circuitry relay ≥ random silences

Fact of fluctuating power supply = total unawareness of emotional nourishment

Water flow √ empty wading pool

Approximate speed per takeoff = number of film reels of scenery shot

Hours of back pain ≠ number of pounds of steel struck his head

Number of questions unanswered ≤ quality of curiosity shared

Ability to back out of emotional situations and + ability to turn enormous machines on a dime

Chances of responding the same way to any emotional threat ≈ chance of rain in February in Vancouver

Overall assessment: actions maintain value even without physical form

Sina Queyras is the author of the Lambda Award–winning Lemon Hound, Expressway (shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award), and the novel Autobiography of Childhood (shortlisted for the Amazon First Novel Award). She often writes for the Poetry Foundation and runs the online journal Lemon Hound.