About My Dad

by Jerry Ratch

My dad drove a Model A Roadster

and had a photo taken of him on a hunting trip up in Wisconsin

with one leather boot up on the running board

and a .22 caliber pistol in his hand

like Ernest Hemingway and Clark Gable rolled into one

My dad rode an Indian motorcycle

in a motorcycle gang up to Wisconsin

and got hit by a car making a left turn

that broadsided him

and got his leg crushed so bad

they almost cut it off

My dad got in a head-on collision

and had his lungs crushed by the steering wheel

My dad flew a P-51 Mustang Fighter plane

My dad flew an Aero coupe

and crash-landed in a wind downdraft into a farmer's

potato patch in his front yard up in Wisconsin

wrapped around a telephone pole

and walked away without a scratch

My dad romanced my mom when she was a teenager

and drove her all around Chicago in a sidecar on his motorcycle

They wrote “I love you” in the steam of his parent's parlor window

while their parents were playing pinochle

My dad drove a ski boat

and towed me around behind the boat water-skiing

summer after summer

My dad played a lot of golf

right up till the end of his life

and suffered a stroke on the golf course

that led to his demise

My dad smoked cigarettes

standing around in garages most of his life

My dad breathed the exhaust of cars most of his life

My dad was in a barber training school

where they cut off the tip of a bum's ear

and taped it back on with scotch tape

and sent the bum packing

bleeding like a stuck pig

How does a stuck pig bleed exactly?

My dad loved my older brother

who pooped right in his hand

when my brother was new-born

My dad died

before my brother was murdered

Good thing

because that would have killed him outright

My pants are moth-eaten

My wallet's in flames

My dad drove Buicks and Oldsmobiles

and Cadillacs

My dad drank one beer a day

because his dad drank buckets every day

during Prohibition

and drank himself to death

My dad was a complete mystery

to me

A complete mystery