He made certain I baited my own hook
and yet there he is in the picture,
crouching behind me
and holding my first catch by the mouth.
Once I searched through his dresser
looking for the war medals I had heard of
but he would never talk about.
Instead I found my baby teeth,
saved in a plastic bag.
In the summer I would wash the race car trailer
for five dollars, scraping the bugs off
with my fingernails because there was no toher way.
I could almost hear rusty hinges
when his wallet opened.
What I remember most
is purple winter mornings,
seeing him limp through the house.
When the pain was so bad,
my mother had to tie his shoes for him.