Suck


Two old-timers stop

in a Buick Skylark on Jarvis Street,

full of broken vessels

and bulging lobes.

These are not '50s sitcom fathers,

no war heroes on porch swings

sipping lemonade and patting freckle-faced

grandchildren on the head.

One of them asks me straight up,

straight away,

if I suck,

and if so,

how much?

I think about hookers.

Hand jobs.

Mesh stockings and pimps named

Tony.

Cold bologna sandwiches on the fly

and saviours

with wandering eyes.

New friends from Chicoutimi,

from Sudbury,

Regina.

Cigarette beacons in abandoned gas station forests.

Fresh off the Trans-Canada,

knapsacks and bruises and

clouds of drug store perfume.

Pledging to stick together forever,

gone by sunrise—

nothing but trails of chip bags and needles

to dawn-lit doors.

I think of muddy car floor mats.

Evergreen air fresheners.

Blood.

A lopsided tree house

in some long lost backyard photo.

I think of two old men

in a Buick skylark

asking me

if I

suck.

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