I Remember Him
I see a version of dad’s smile
on my sister’s face,
have inherited his stubby fingers,
wide feet and hammer toes
which strain my Birkenstock sandals.
He taught me how to shoot a .22 rifle,
then a 20-gauge shotgun,
the trick to driving a stick shift,
double clutching his yellow Bronco,
which levers and pedals to push
on the John Deere tractor.
He made me a substitute
for the son he never had,
took me pheasant hunting,
fishing in high Sierra streams
and the Stanislaus River.
At our local coffee house,
I bullshit with his surviving cronies,
laugh as we remember his various pranks,
can almost see him holding court at his favorite table.
He’d defy warnings from mom and doctor,
gobble forbidden maple bars,
knock back scalding black coffee with gusto.