Dad's Second Visit
Meg Pokrass

Dad smoked them, so I wanted to try a cigarette. Mostly my eyes landed on his dumb boots. Hiking made him seem mossy, old and exhausted. I told him that I helped mom with laundry and plucking weeds. I wanted to say I'd taken pictures of her boyfriend from our roof. Dad had thick glasses and birdlike arms. The only thing he looked good doing was smoking. To him we were starting all over again. To me we were treating an infection. He asked me if I ate salmon. I answered that I liked it poached and tender. He said he'd been off fishing a lot and would soon retire. I craved what was nestled in my night stand, a hand rolled joint. I wanted to free up all of this shitty silence. Can I light it? I asked. He laughed and I imagined him laid out on a long, white gurney and how part of me would split. He let me strike the match and place his cigarette inside my lips.