my old man learned early

play your cards close to your chest

let others fill in the gaps

he wasn’t much concerned

in how you felt about that

or fussed if you felt him cold distant

if he cared for you he’d do stuff for you

decorate fix your car clear the driveway

there were times he would be emotional

but nobody wanted any of that

he’d explode into fierce words

fast fists to quell opposition

& that as a kid was beyond frightening

no doubt the reason why his first wife

my mother left him flat for another man

I was only a toddler when one night

I heard noises downstairs went to see

she was standing by the window trembling

he was shouting loud straight standing over

get me the poker! she said to me eyes wide

he’s going to hit me! I got the fire poker

a heavy line of iron dragged it to her

he looked at me with those wild eyes

as I stood in front of her & I will never know

if he remembered that but I felt always he never forgave

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