My father was always a fan of wall socket justice
The way to live was to stick a penny in and twitch a little
Shards of cookie jar couldn’t break his smile
over my mastery of the kitchen chair, a bucket and a stick
“Need a longer stick.” He laughed in ignorance of the potential head wound.
We cleaned up the mess and slowly ate the cookies on the floor together.
Mother couldn’t see the humor in the situation.

He let me drive at fourteen. A CRX once rolled by my uncle in Germany.
The go-cart with a shell taught me the soft touch.
The tickle of an engine wanting power.
Wanting to move. Twitching on a clutch.
He never warned me women were the same way.
A few months after his second company went bankrupt,
my mother didn’t find the marriage solvent either.

I couldn’t help but follow in his footsteps. Receding hair line. Two wives. One kid.
Only, I didn’t get custody. I couldn’t teach my daughter the way my father taught me.
To grab for the cookies regardless of the shards. To rev till the engine screamed.
To push aside fear and and pain and find the current.

He didn’t look right after his stroke. Lying prone. Tubed.
The shell of a man used to grabbing life by the scrotum.
The struggle as a machine helped him breath
Pushing air down his throat. Making his chest twitch.
He never had a living will. He thought it was an oxymoron.
A few months after his first stroke, I tried to warn him.
My father never respected warnings either.

I couldn’t help but stare at the respirator
It was easier than looking at the shards of a man lying on the white linen
Breathing with a machine, pissing in a bucket, eating from a tube
“Can’t live forever,” He laughed in ignorance just a week ago
when I helped him shuffle into the cafeteria and we ate pudding together.
I followed the respirator cord to the wall.

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