Father's Day
by Vaughn Neeld

Smoke drifted toward the nicotine-stained ceiling.
The rocking chair slowly came to a stop.
Beer dripped from an overturned bottle.
Scuffed house shoes lay scattered
on the once-rose-hued carpet.
Dust resettled onto dated knick-knacks.
The radio droned on.

I looked at the mess. All that was left.
I picked up the beer bottle, collected the shoes,
plopped upon the rocking chair's ratty, faded pillow.
I knew he was going downhill,
but why didn't he ask for help?

Tears trickled down my face.
I reached to turn off the radio,
but a man's twangy voice spilled out,
and he began to sing some old cowboy song.
Though my voice was choked, I sang along.
At the end, I whispered into the silence,
"I love you, Dad."



 


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