He sits at the foot of the bed,
half-burnt Parliament and the last sips
of Wild Turkey wavering in the mood.
He spoke to his son two days ago,
the first chance since Meg moved him
to St. Louis to do those things without caution.
He sits in a motel outside Memphis,
getting sober for bed--barely remembers the call,
only the tiny tremors in his son's voice wishing
she would stop. He snuffs the cigarette out
in the cluttered ashes, a carton burned since Raleigh.
His chest feels squeezed with nicotine, lungs thin
like the patience he should have shown.
How the lawyer kept encouraging him to:
back down; just back off; your son will be fine.
He sits at the foot of the bed with an empty bottle
and a new cigarette, letting the screaming sex next door
crawl through the wallpaper and cool this coming of hell.