We sat untroubled in the back yard,
a warm dusk and heat from the sun
radiating upward from the cement patio.
It felt so good being with him there,
one on one like a divine consultation
at the end of the day, son and father.
But we couldn’t get past the small things.
He inhaled and swallowed his bourbon
on the rocks washing away his fears.
His hand waved shouting, “hello!”
to the neighbor, then whispered under
his breath, “you son of a bitch – you.”
His twisted stare grabbed me with his fire.
I froze and deliberated why he said things
like this at times like this. I couldn’t fix
such a gorgeous evening that was
damaged now, a ball of fire setting low
into the treeline.
He blamed the war and grumbled about
his absent father and neglected childhood,
so unforgiving and foul, puking his guts on
the neighbor and warm cement, goring
anyone who stepped into his ring. I stared
into the woods while the screen door
squealed like a pig, abandoned on the plaza
avoiding the horns of an angry bull.
[Read more of Billy Malanga’s poems]
[Check out Billy’s back porch wisdom here]