Always On the Lookout for a Bargain, My Father Inquires
About Purchasing a Ford Truck He Found
We were late arriving at the cabin
in northwest Indiana on the Kankakee.
My father was drunk, and I, tired.
As we came near, crossing the tracks,
we saw the tavern off in the woods.
A Ford truck drove quick circles
in the gravel with a woman hanging
onto the tall, chromed mirror
on the passenger door. We stopped. We
watched as the fierce wind blew.
The driver yelled at and threatened
the woman, then drove toward
a tree. The majestic oak crushed
the side of the Ford
knocking the woman to the ground.
My father tugged my arm and ran
toward the scene. “Look at her, Tiger.” He said
to me, smiling. Then stepped over her
to admire the damaged Ford.
“Do you see this?” He asked, but I only saw
the woman. Her eyes stared into mine.
She trembled, she choked; tiny droplets
of blood catapulted from her mouth
as she struggled for breath.
I watched her die.
I was seven.
Through The Louvers of the Bi-fold Door
Three eggs crackle in browning, bubbling batter.
The cast iron pan, dominant and black,
holds the bacon ‘til crisp. Hash browns, too,
fry ‘til golden brown as the toast toasts
in the toaster. My mother’s face, speckled
with sweat, hangs low over the stove. Monotony
shows in her crow’s feet and callused hands.
She’s fat now. She’s a drunk, and sometimes
she screams when no one’s around. I watch
her from the hall, because it’s forbidden to go in.
My father sits tall in his chair. He’s king
in his castle. He’s fat now. He’s a drunk, and
sometimes he cries when no one’s around.
“Here’s your breakfast, My Love.” She says,
thinking she believes it, then fetches the coffee.
I want to join them, but it’s forbidden, the King
eats alone. So I sit quietly on the cold
floor, peeking, like a spy, through the louvers
of the bi-fold door. Soon he will leave, she will
scream, and that will be my cue to enter—as always.