Coming Home

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.