With cotton candy armpits and sugary
Crevices, sweat glazing your donut skin.
Have you ever been fat, Brad?
Have you ever wanted a Snickers
More than love and lain on your bed
While the phone rang and rolled one
On your tongue, afraid to eat it, afraid
It would make your jeans too
I’m almost forty and just understanding my father doesn’t like me. At thirteen I quit basketball, the next year refused to hunt, I knew he was disappointed, but never thought he didn’t have to like me to love me. No girls. Never learned to drive a stick. Chose the kitchen and mom while he went to the woods with friends who had sons like he wanted. He tried fishing—a rod and reel under the tree one Christmas. Years I tried talking deeper, acting tougher when we were together. Last summer I went with him to buy a tractor. In case he needs help, Mom said. He didn’t look at me as he and the sales guy tied the wheels to the trailer, perfect boy-scout knots. Why do I sometimes wish I could be a man who cares about cars and football, who carries a pocketknife and needs it? It was January when he screamed: I’m not a student, don’t talk down to me! I yelled: You’re not smart enough to be one! I learned to fight like his father, like him, like men: the meanest guy wins, don't ever apologize.