It’s Not a Camera

A month of birthdays 
can’t help but remind me
of the time we tried to surprise
my father with an unexpected gift,

a camera, and I tried
to throw him off the scent
with the unmistakable misdirection, 
“It’s not a camera,” 

which caused my mother and brothers 
to guffaw in familial laughter 
but no matter because my father 
didn’t hear me anyway, 

and he opened his present 
with the surprise intact
the lesson of which, if there is one 
to be gleaned from this incident, is 

No matter what you expect
No matter what may be in store
If you stop listening, or just get distracted
It’s always, and never, not a camera.