Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Cinnamon Cologne

I remember boats and campers and tents and skunks
fish hooks with worms and reels of hope but with a weight
We slept in canvas tents and sleeping bags that smelled like saving money

When I hugged you
I smelled cinnamon cologne and garlic powder neckties
from what milled that day

In your car you hid 
cigarette smoke and peppermint circles

We played bucking bronco with squeals and back scrapes from the low end of the bed frame 
but we never wanted to stop

We had campfires and clans called Fisher Nordhoff Batavick and I listened
to your talk about Billy Joel
Willie Nelson/ZZ Top/Barbra Streisand 
bluegrass mixed with r&b and a heavy helping of rock and roll
(Old black water keep on rolling
Mississippi moon won’t you
keep on shining on me?)

You showed me how
to squish a chicken leg at the end of string, 
a blue crab pinched it hard then steamed in cheap beer

Remember when spaghetti with pasta and meatballs splatted on the floor and
the dog slurped the noodles while The A Team took care of business?
We still laugh about that.

You made chicken crispy skin and Mom sliced watermelon on hot summer nights at the picnic table that surprised us with splinters, sometimes

Riding a wobbly orange bike down a gravel river street you
ran along holding the back of the seat 
then I was riding the clutch on a country road, with your winces and ear tugs and then a substitute teacher was assigned (Mom)

We shared discussions and tears then fears
You put me to bed with a tuck and a hug and the smell of a beer
Warm hugs on cold nights, those are your best.

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