dad’s last joke

my dad owned a bar
back in illinois
which was apropos
because of the sheer
amount of time
he had spent in bars
for work and for pleasure
there wasn’t a small tavern
that didn’t know him
and have a beer ready
as soon as he stepped
into the neon lit room

there was a group of
bikers that preferred
to drink at his place
and he in turn
a joker with quite
the acerbic tongue
proceeded to make fun
of the burly men
he had a way of smiling
after he destroyed you
that meant you were
laughing nearly as hard
as he was laughing at you
it was magical to see
somewhat difficult to
grow up with constantly
but you had to be
quick witted to survive

when he died after a
mercifully short battle
with cancer his wish was
his ashes be spread
across the parking lot
his life insurance would
pay to be repaved
so i stood in the sunlight
face covered in tears
and shook handfuls of
his creamted remains
onto the gravel lot

suddenly a loud rumble
came from the otherside
of the railroad tracks
and as i wept and spread
the last of my father
the motorcycles came up
over the slight hill

and like he had reached
out of the endless void
to pull one last trick
the first bike toppled over
and the rest spilled
the burly riders onto
the asphalt and tracks
everyone gasped and then
laughter spilled out as
they sullenly picked up
themselves and their bikes
and we all had the feeling
he was laughing along with us

i don’t believe in much
the love we sow and
the pains we harvest
but i believe that at
the moment his final bits
were released into universe
this cold world that knows
only how to take and take
gave back to celebrate
the man who is my hero

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