I Picture Him Driving

Jed Myers

My father never said lonely. He’d say Let’s go to Alfredo’s. Soon
as he’d collapsed in the living-room chair home from work. We’d see
how beat he was. He’d talk through his yawns,

then he’d thrust himself forward and push up off the chair’s arms, go
wrestle his coat back on, and we’d follow him out the front door
to the car. He would drive

over the limit, slow down for stop signs or rights on red, and pull
a quick left through a brief gap in City Line’s oncoming traffic
to land us in Alfredo’s lot. He said hungry

at times, never empty. There’d be caprese and Who else’ll have some,
come on, don’t make me finish it all by myself.
He’d tell us
again about Italy, say Next comes the primi,

he’d have the risotto or gnocchi, the rest of us whatever, noodles
in red sauce, and after, keeping the cloth napkin tucked at his neck,
for him the secondi, veal, chicken, lobster…

we’d drag our forks through what was left on our plates. And he’d have
put in for several contorni, the parmesan-graced asparagus
plus a few more to pass around – we’d sample

these for his sake in our fullness. He’d never think we’d had enough,
though we’d be dazed by the time the tiramisu arrived, one
for each. He’d finish his, and at last lifting

the bib from his collar, would ask for the check. My father never said
what was the matter. He’d take his Alka-Seltzer and Tums
through the night, wind up in front of the TV

in the den before dawn, and head out in the dark for work. He never said
restless, but I watched his relentless thrashing in his hospice
bed – he wanted to get dressed and out

to the car, saying Come on let’s go get the soup. What are we waiting for?
I wonder if that soup was his mother’s winter borsht, roots
grounding us once more in Minsk

or Vilnius, but I’m convinced it was a rich minestrone. And evenings
I picture him driving alone in those sun-dried hills of his
heaven, to dine at the next stucco inn.