The first time I found him I was sixteen.
He was crumpled under his bike like an unpaid bar tab.
He smelled like cigarettes and something lonely.

The second time I found him I was nineteen.
He was half-hanging out of the truck door,
talking to himself, barefoot and shirtless, a lost child.

Where I grew up, everyone was a drunk.
Sobriety was an illness and my father
was always searching for a cure.

Another time I found him, playing hookie
from work, and he told me about the bleeding
stomach ulcers caused by the poison still in his hand.

Each time I found the anchor of my father,
I dragged him home and laid him belly down,
rescuing something that already drowned.


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