Updated: Oct 19

To the soil that met water,

the bends that hid

breaks, finding creek and fishing

trout, there was only Dad

and Dosie.

Private property, a screen

door, an old lady, a rifle—

“Trespassers!”— and he shakes

his head.

The crone’s granddaughter joins

upon command, dragging

a shotgun in trails

across the dirt.

Her youthful shoulders

collapse to the men

-'s halting breaths.

It’s cocked back,

and Dad shivers

at the sound,

looks to Dosie.

A name so forgotten,

it exists

only in my blood. It folds

in my tongue

like an unwritten letter,

or one written

but unsent.

I hold it

in my hand.

Dosie’s home is warm

and vibrant. I sit

in the yard, hummingbirds

dart hand sculpted glass

as the wind

chimes follow

suit, an air

not so merciful.

This heat hurts, lulls me

to sleep, belly full

of chocolate milk.

Aunt Lou spends hours

making sugar water

for those birds, June

Apples for me.

The long process

of slow simmers

and dollars, spoons stirring wrists

exhausted. I don’t know

what her handwriting looks like

anymore. Their house is stale

and air conditioned, an Old

Western, musty carpets and light

fixtures. Bonanza

at 4 A.M, Dosie waking up

just in time.

He makes his coffee,

eats his eggs, sits

down. Up

early before the sun,

to be with him,

I run around

in the dew,

my swimming pool.

It is bedtime at 7,

Aunt Lou pushes through

until 8.

His little steps,

shallow breaths, eyes

behind “grandpa glasses”

and dentures.

He was never a father.

He never kissed me


But he cried

when we left.

Every time.

He watched Dad’s truck

travel into the sunrise,

Pilot Mountain in the forefront,

and waited.

Waving and crying, his love

was behind cracked hands

and wrinkles.

Those same ones

that made me that doll

house, strained

and tangled,

tired from detail

and time, exhausted

from bickers and sun.

There was always a charm

to that Southern way

of him, cocky

confidence, spitting

tobacco, a comfort,

protection, something I knew

held sour roots

but tasted sweet

upon chewing.

Coal mining ancestry

hit him, but not as hard

as most. Almost

unreachable, he bought

us peanuts

and made a game

of throwing the shells.

Dositeo Alvarez—

said only in West Virginia

twang, North Carolina beer—

pass me a pop,

put down your gun.

It’s Dosie,

Aunt Lou’s man,

Dad’s second father.

“Don’t shoot!”

20 views1 comment

Recent Posts

See All