“Fathers & sons” by Alex Thomas

Among the few things I still need
my father for, pouring gasoline
on a campfire is one. I have learned 
most of the other tasks — how to 
shave & to get over a breakup & 
to give up smoking. And I have 
taught my father to doomscroll 
YouTube & how to evaluate the 
danger of a darkened city street.
We sit on couches beside the TV
with beers as I teach him to 
navigate the waters of Netflix.

But I need him still when I’m 
feeding a fire with gasoline &
when I’m cooking a Thanksgiving
turkey. And I think of an everywhere
kitchen with smells like knowing how
to do things. And now, he stands outside 
my childhood home, in front of a bonfire,
with a gas can in his hand.

Alex Thomas has written for Playboy, Air Mail, LitHub, and The New Republic. His poetry has been featured in Cimarron Review, Cherry Tree, and elsewhere. 

Image: “An Andalusian Headshop Blacklight Poster Daytime” by Bill Cawley

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