My Father’s Legs

by Carl Boon

My father’s legs, which no longer exist,
stretch in wild plaid pants in a photo
taken in 1976. He’s next to a typewriter,
holding a cigarette and looking up
at the sky he assumed would always

shelter him. He’s young enough to disdain
threats of death, and if there happened
to be a thunderstorm approaching
that warm May night, he’d shelter me,
a toddler, fearful of the ruthless wind.

Because he’s dead, I hate the notion
that I brought to him minutes of sorrow,
hours of indecision. Still, my presence,
my clutching his legs against the thunder,
distracted him from the peeling paint

of the screened-in porch, the sunroom
drapes in need of renewal, my mother’s
ecstasies and frustrations, for they
were young, with Pepsi and meat loaf
on the counter for a late dinner. I hope

they made love that night against the hum
of the afterstorm, the lightning eastward
a reminder that life would get no better:
always bills, a toddler in need of shoes,
a blue VW Bug rattling all summer.