by Bill Ratner
He holds me like a chef lowering a turkey into a pot of oil. You, the dirty ant that crawls on the floor, he drawls.I worship the Cossack green of his eyes, the crook of his chin, his bigness. He muscles his Schwinn like Jesse James breaks broncos on the Little Dixie. He ranges like weather.My father’s Buick pops gravel down the drive. Shirking babysitting protocol my brother straps me to a chair, slaps me left and right. My hiccoughing sobs do nothing to douse his rage at my existence. As welcome kindness he re-gifts me Esquire Magazine’s What Every Young Man Should Know, takes down his Genius at Work sign, and nails it to my bedroom door.After a late Spring of photographs from the West, stage by stage he succumbs to the ravaging of his flesh. I watch him fade. My passwords are iterations of his name.