First lesson of the ice:
you're always second toughest.

Second lesson:
don't let him know it.  Always get up

fast.  Take the hits,
hit the whiskey, scotch

tape bones back together,
ice the rest,

sleep and wake stiff
to another ad hoc dad lesson:

you're always last toughest

because they drool guileless,
grin toothless,
kiss you gap-toothed,

lay your limping ass
flat again.

           Mitchell Metz
MITCHELL METZ has had work appear in over forty publications, including Slipstream, Crab Creek Review, Sow's Ear Poetry Review and the e-zines Eclectica and Naked Poetry.  He says, "My wife thinks I should put together a collection right after I fix the screen door."