watching my father walk out of a gas station

hands in pockets of a goodwill flannel
he stumbles slightly
off the lip of the curb.

dad used to be built like a mack truck,
now he’s frail,
sixty-three years old:
walks with a minor limp
from a hit and run accident on his bicycle
seventeen years ago.

watching him now
(the wind might blow him away
like a plastic sack)
it’s hard to imagine
i ever hated him.

growing up
i thought he was out to ruin my life.

but he's just a quiet private man,
never recovered from
burying his mother
at the age of thirteen.

dad never knew what to do with his hands,
let alone a son
and a crazy pill freak for a wife.

he leans in the door
says his eyes are tired
would i drive for awhile.

i get in the driver's seat,
he hands me a toothpick
and we keep on driving
down to memphis missouri
to run the weed wacker
around his mother
and father's grave.