This is the Dad One

Flashes from smaller years:
He dives into rocks
yielding a bloody nose
exploding out onto the sand.

He gulps out drunken ugly tears,
glistening shards still in hand
from the bottle shattered hours before.
Red, again, everywhere.

An unseen dog behind him
leaves him broken-legged.
He hobbles, becrutched,
for an entire awkward summer.

He snores, unable to be woken
despite my mother’s best efforts
until he finally shoots up
shocked as we surround his chair
where sleep was so anxiously disturbed.

He cannot cross the street.
He is overheated, sweaty,
breathing is ragged.
Standing upright proves difficult.
An ambulance takes us all blocks
to a hospital
for a fevered few hours.

All of these
he survives
and others I’ve forgotten
or have never known.
He proves hardy in his frailty
and surprises us all
with relative ruggedness
for longer than ever expected.

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