I find his stash of magazines stacked neatly
in a bathroom drawer. Thumbing through them,
I scan the stories I know he pours over: liberal
conspirators, women who carry firearms, home
invaders stopped dead by “armed citizens.”
My blood beginning to boil, I realize he’s quit
telling me these stories, that the magazines
no longer appear on his dining room table,
that he’s prepared for my visit. Later, I watch
my father as he fills the tractor tires with air,
kneeling by each one, pressing on the tires
to feel their give. No gauge to guide his work,
he does it all by touch, by instinct and experience.
It’s been years since I’ve watched him work,
squatted by him while he changed the oil in the car,
since I happily fetched him a tool or tilted the light
for him to see. His long sleeves rolled to the elbow,
glasses perched on the end of his nose, he narrates
his movements, convinced that one day I’ll need
this information, that I’ll be pumping up tires when
I’m not at my keyboard or sipping green tea lattes
at Starbucks. His hands, creased and spotted now,
are still more than competent, more than capable.
Once, I thought he knew everything.