I Visit Dick

Image of Long Story Short Award - Fall 2020
Image of Poetry
I visit Dick around ten o’clock. Dick’s this big guy,
6’5 or 6’6 or something, broad chested, huge beard.
He lives with his son and their new dog,
Maggie, and when I get to his house Maggie is
wearing a diaper. “She’s on her doggy period,”
Dick’s son says as we walk into the living
room. “She bled all over my train rug.” Dick
tells the kid to play upstairs and let the grown- ups talk. He proceeds to tell me that
he had crashed his bike the other night. Dick
rides this motorcycle everywhere; sticks the
kid on the back and tells him to hold on tight.
They have matching helmets and goggles.
“Jesus, Dick, was it bad?” I ask him. His face
gets real cloudy. He seems too big for his chair. “I
smashed into a bush, see?” He shows me a bunch of fine scratches lining his upper arm. “Wasn’t
too bad.” “Is the bike okay?” “But there was this
nest of birds. I killed them when I hit the bush -
every last little baby in the nest.” He looks
at the floor for a long time. I hear his son singing upstairs. Maggie scratches at her doggy diaper.
I tell him: “I’m sorry.” What else do you say?
“I’ve never killed anything before,” he whispers.
“I know, Dick.” What else do you say? He touches
his neck. “Do you think you’ll ever have kids?”
I look to the mantle where Dick’s wife rests
in an orange and white urn. I look at Dick.
“I don’t think so.” He offers me a sad smile.
He says: “That’s okay.” We sit in his living room for a long time. We are very quiet. Sometimes
he will reach down and give Maggie a squeeze.
He calls me “honey” when I leave in the afternoon.