I Picture Him Driving
My father never said lonely. He’d say Let’s go to Alfredo’s. Soon
as he’d collapsed in the living-room chair home from work. We’d see
how beat he was. He’d talk through his yawns,
then he’d thrust himself forward and push up off the chair’s arms, go
wrestle his coat back on, and we’d follow him out the front door
to the car. He would drive
over the limit, slow down for stop signs or rights on red, and pull
a quick left through a brief gap in City Line’s oncoming traffic
to land us in Alfredo’s lot. He said hungry
at times, never empty. There’d be caprese and Who else’ll have some,
come on, don’t make me finish it all by myself. He’d tell us
again about Italy, say Next comes the primi,
he’d have the risotto or gnocchi, the rest of us whatever, noodles
in red sauce, and after, keeping the cloth napkin tucked at his neck,
for him the secondi, veal, chicken, lobster . . .
we’d drag our forks through what was left on our plates. And he’d have
put in for several contorni, the parmesan-graced asparagus
plus a few more to pass around—we’d sample
these for his sake in our fullness. He’d never think we’d had enough,
though we’d be dazed by the time the tiramisu arrived, one
for each. He’d finish his, and at last lifting
the bib from his collar, would ask for the check. My father never said
what was the matter. He’d take his Alka-Seltzer and Tums
through the night, wind up in front of the TV
in the den before dawn, and head out in the dark for work. He never said
restless, but I watched his relentless thrashing in his hospice
bed—he wanted to get dressed and out
to the car, saying Come on let’s go get the soup. What are we waiting for?
I wonder if that soup was his mother’s winter borsht, roots
grounding us once more in Minsk
or Vilnius, but I’m convinced it was a rich minestrone. And evenings
I picture him driving alone in those sun-dried hills of his
heaven, to dine at the next stucco inn.
Not Even August
Excessive heat warning remains in effect . . .
—July 31, 2022
Out on the landfill the asters are opening,
seems all at once, and it’s not even
How are the stems at all green
in the dry of this heat?
And the off-white
discs of the Queen Anne’s lace risen just
as suddenly, like a hovering city
above the dead-brown grasses.
in my left hip again this morning. I step
slow. Where the trail by the pond was
mud, it’s hard now.
And the Himalayan
blackberries are already darkening. How
has the wheel been sped? I know. I know.
Jed Myers is author of Watching the Perseids (Sacramento Poetry Center Book Award), The Marriage of Space and Time (MoonPath Press), and, forthcoming, Learning to Hold (Wandering Aengus Press Editors’ Award). His work has received awards from Southern Indiana Review, The Southeast Review, The Briar Cliff Review, The Poetry Society, Munster Literature Centre, Grayson Books, and others. Recent writing appears or is forthcoming in Rattle, The Poetry Review, RHINO, The Greensboro Review, Rust + Moth, Terrain.org, On the Seawall, The National Poetry Review, and elsewhere. Myers lives in Seattle, where he edits the journal Bracken. “I Picture Him Driving” was awarded Second Prize in the National Poetry Competition 2021 and originally published in The Poetry Review.
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