Ox Hide

The grandkids remember his quieter years,
his handlebar moustache asleep in the old leather chair
(the President's gift, with thanks)
full of wrinkles and crevices and silent echoes
     of "Ah, now some peace."

Ox hide showered with twilights, cured with creases
where his head stretched back, his shoulders hinched,
and the hide, surprised, fought back;
where the corners of the burdened cushion fought

and pacted with the musty crannies of the frame.
Right here, the cushion got its way; but here,
for being wood, the frame.  Black wolves, their paws

the chair's paws, probed the grandkids
with harder eyes than the wood that made them.

A. Y. Tanaka