Dave Hughes: Da.

It’s Saturday at 3 am
The alarm bells are still in the air
as we move towards the truck
and the mist of my dream is fading.

In it My father’s face looms.
Bemused, smiling.
“Dad – what are you doing here?”
“Doing where?”

“Dad – how did you get here?”
“Mom sent me to look for you.”
The man that was my everything,
is a child in my hands.

My father who taught me, led me, beat me
whose love was so fierce I shook before it, is gone.
What’s left, stands before me at the corner store,
and I am sure, he doesn’t know who I am.

Reality intrudes as the snow slaps the windshield,
the wipers can’t keep up.
My lieutenant is barking into the back seat,
we know this apartment building.

The road is so slick it looks like glass.
Tons of truck shift beneath me on the ice.
The Radio cracks – First due Engine – reports,
“Multi family, heavy smoke and fire… Christ, they’re jumping.”

The fellas in the back shift and squirm
eager, anxious, aggressive.
The smell of the fire is in our noses now.
A familiar image bleeds into our minds,
small broken black bodies in the snow.

My father died on Thursday.
But life and death go on,
My airpack chirps,
and now is no time for memories.
It’s Saturday at 3 am.

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