Hitching a ride, trusting a partner, marrying the same person three times
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I walk past the Kwik Trip where you found me
in the dumpster, tunneling for canned food.
Past the VFW where you bought us burgers,
newspaper now taped over the windows.
The bowling alley where you paid for my lane.
The diamond where you coached the Raiders,
now being mowed by a girl, about sixteen,
cap brim curved and lowered, swimsuit
dark beneath her shirt, a spotless Midco
scoreboard lifting above the outfield fence —
HOME: nothing, AWAY: nothing. Your house
is totally different. No garden beds, no covered
porch where I slept. ATVs leak gasoline
in a corrugated shed. When I knock, a stranger
answers the door and holds it half open.
I try to explain. He lowers his eyes and I know
you’re dead. He’s nothing like you: no leather
hat, no walking cane, no bend in the nose
from the boxing days. But just like you,
he could choose to shake his head, wave goodbye.
He’s not my family, not my friend. Doesn’t owe me
shit. But just like you, he asks my name,
and where I’m from, and where I’m trying
to get to. And pretty soon, he’s inviting me in.