i have never seen my dad's uniform.

does he slip into
a suite of blown glass
or does he swaddle himself
in lace? in the backyard
there is a manhole cover 
he will climb into while no one
is looking. my father is 
a hell-worker. he won't tell us
what he does. 
the corners of his clothes 
return singed & in tatters.
creases of his hands
full of soot & ash. i used to want
to go down there with him
& work alongside all the men
in my very own secret uniform.
maybe an old diver's suite.
all metal & fortress. a tube trailing
to feed me air from above.
sometimes, dad will tell me
i must not ever work 
in a place like him. 
i have searched his closet
for his secrets & never found
the uniform: rows of old 
thread-bare t-shirts. i do not dare
ask him where he keeps it. 
instead, i will build him a better one.
i am testing out materials still.
maybe thousands of pennies maybe
an arce of lilac maybe hair 
maybe horse hooves. i keep
all these suites in a secret closet
where no one can see them.
one day the uniform 
will be ready & i will dress my father
while he sleeps & his skin will
not longer burn & his body
will no longer age.
until then, he will have a secret
from me. his uniform sleeps 
somewhere in this house.

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