by Melanie Weldon-Soiset

You hobble away from your parked Ford Bronco,
your Teamster ball cap crowning
slumped shoulders and convex back.

I’m not sure what weighs you down more—
the six-pack of Bud sagging from your hand,
or the 30-year-old bullet lodged in your spine?

Sometimes you almost fly, like when
you regale me with stories of your boyhood
pet duck—how that bird would quack and strut

around our block. Today it seems like
other memories pinion you. Back when
a wall dissolved in Berlin, did you see

thieves scale the wall at the end
of your shift? You guarded your semi,
but you couldn’t shield your spine.

You try to hold so much: the 90-year-old
home inherited from your folks, a disco age
Pontiac now stored in a neighbor’s garage.

Did bell-bottomed you blare the Bee Gees
while joy riding around town? I don’t know
how to share your load so you can jam again.

I can only imagine. I imagine
a bench beside the Kenilworth Marsh,
with lotus and spatterdock lining the banks.

I imagine you smiling as you gaze upward,
with buoyant posture and open hands, watching
cormorants and other waterfowl glide by.


Photo by Jay Castor on Unsplash