Some nights, after work, he
comes home in a cab. Mom's
already asleep, so I get the door,
running back to my TV dinner,
before my sister can steal
my chocolate pudding.
We can hear him in the kitchen, shaking the can,
popping the top, and pouring it in a glass with one ice cube.
Drink in hand, he marches into the den, orders us
to turn off the tube, calls us to attention, and props
us on his legs. We glance at each other, the clock,
and back to our padded, stuffed animal feet.
Nightly, the same slack tie hangs from his neck,
flatfish bored by his stories. His button-down looks
like he slept in it. Sipping and slurping,
he clinks ice against glass, rifles through shirt pockets
for crinkled cellophane. Retrieving a yellow Bic,
from cavern pants pockets, he puffs away.
Disciples, we sit rapt for hours, until feet tingle
and shoulders slump. We've heard it all
before, but remain transfixed:
Working in a concrete factory, a shingle mill,
then fighting in Korea, he can't start a family
and save a company. We don't understand
why he makes us feel the plate in his leg.