My Father at Twenty-Three, on the Highway Side of an Overpass Fence

The details always the same.
Salt wind tearing at his jacket.
Bootheels dug deep

in the chain-link. The two doses
slipped under his tongue
at a friend of a friend’s party


and the coming to
blinking at a half-lit stretch
of the Long Island Expressway.


He would call me down
into the bachelor pad he made
of our basement—ratty couch,


knob-dial Sharp, mini-fridge
he bartered a tiling job for
stocked with Narragansett—


and tell me again about the fence,
the wind, the semis pitching
into the night.


Even then I didn’t believe him.
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