You wait in the 1956 cream Dodge, some rust, 
with your sister, your brother standing 
on the seat at the window, your mother 
saying nothing as she thumbs the latch 
on the glove compartment. You look  

through the window at the yellow puffs 
corroding the white tin wall of the Best Cafe, 
then up at the unlit neon letters 
spread like flayed, cooled nerves 
against the waxy Saturday sun  

for one, two, then three hours, bags of jacks 
and dime bread relaxing their crispness, 
folded, refolded then crumpled in sweaty hands 
with nothing to do. Sitting on the green army 
blanket in the back seat you get used  

to the passing adults lowering lagoons 
of opaque eyes on you from the sidewalk, 
when can we go home, when can we go home, 
after three hours you don’t expect the men
wading through that door to be him anymore,  

you will not expect a man to be him 
ever again, even when he sits across from us 
at Christmas when we visit with the children. 
The space between that car and that bar 
is bigger than American, bigger than space,  

roomy enough for staying home on Easter, 
for Republican politics, for new children 
to grow up in, for a one-year divorce, 
for bread and quilts made by the old recipe, 
for monthly money to the World Vision.  

This is why after running seven miles 
when I step inside a cleaned day 
up the brick walk to the front door, 
I touch the sides of my head at the 
splitting absolutely soundless breath  

of God in the green shrubs flanking 
your wreath on the door, this is why
I re-create you through the side-lights 
in the kitchen. You raise your flour-covered 
arm to brush Sarah’s hair from her eye,

then stand on a child’s chair and push 
your whole body down into a mound of dough 
quickening across the ceramic bar. 
In an instant I glide like a spirit-man 
on a pine-scented crest of evergreen voice

right through this door into the home 
of your smile, into this story 
of why I was born, of the comings and goings 
of men, of how it happens again 
at this very, very moment.