Sobbing for an Old Man

Sobbing for an Old Man

like when
I watch movies, remind me dad has died
Or knowing Jared killed himself, and
wondering how much blame was mine.

I’ll feel his loss when he was one of few
to talk to in an austere house.
He was wanted warmth in the winters, and
even in the summers of a loveless home. He was
movement
when nothing else could stray from its manufactured state
He was the best gift an abuser ever gave.

I’ll expect him trotting down the road, a picturesque kitsch in the window frame.
A reminder that we’re bad neighbors as he happily makes his rounds
to pee on everyone’s grass. No one ever complained.
What dog takes himself for a walk, just to enjoy the sun and some bladder relief anyway?
Even Mr. Mike would chuckle at the hole dug between our two yards. Until next summer, visitors are always welcome there.
When there isn’t a blanket in the hallway, tapered out toward the stairs like
a cartoon fart from where it last clung to his long, warm body, I’ll stop
as if something were missing.

Coby’s toys will fill the spot where the still warm baby’s blanket from eight year’s ago,
perhaps dad touched this too,
clung to the now cold resting place at the other end. Do you think
a new dog will lie here one day with as much understanding of the pain this family has endured?
That’s the same spot a crazy man screamed at Braiden, believed he was an equal and not his father.
And downstairs is the place where he told some to leave, even though he usually liked people.
With a pointed weapon, he didn’t want more hurt in this house.
Who will tell me anymore who I can trust walking through my door?
Another will not tell me that drugs are bad
I should know that by now.

It’s okay to cry like this. He never acted like a dog, so much as
an old man living in his rocking chair. A pile of blankets, grunting, groaning, happy.
He was a superhero,
power to become pure youth when his boy was not yet visible down the road, walking back from shitty friends, a dying community.
I forgot he was that old.

What do you think his favorite breathe flavor was?
Fish, and rice? Of course a Japanese family’s dog would be allergic,

What a crying shame
knowing Coby has lost his family
one of few
a witness to his growing up. No one new can witness what is already done.
No one new will ever love him the same.
Why not cry then, if not because love has been ripped from hopeless places in our life?
Or the way memories change, when we die.

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