my father’s knuckles

my father’s knuckles at the edge of the pavement slab
as he pulls himself forward in a monkey’s crouch
to launch and run back through the yard as we head home from the grocery store

 i had carried a plastic half gallon milk carton that wasn’t expired
out of the line i didn’t want to wait in
and past security guards
one of which i was attracted to

as she fell and her ass cheeks rippled

there were women i wanted to talk to by the soup kitchen and bread kiosk
one of them in a blue pea coat
climbing the wooden spiral posts of the kiosk to better grab at a higher loaf

she had a small button face and brown hair in a pony tail
the cleaners left a wide trail of cereal down the middle of the isles
my father suddenly next to me and saying
as we walked out the door
that someone would have to be good at burning the business down for insurance money
and then we were out of the mall and into the sick yellow blotch skied ( sky like the yellow of an egg – goopy and runny looking ) yard
with the blobby but mostly circular stone slab pathway
kept in line by a grayed wooden slat fence on the left
and a column of pine trees on the right

he knuckles up the edge of a slab and pulls forward to jump onto the next slab
as i do the same behind or sometimes right next to him

then a yellow snake at one of the last slabs
eyeing us in the dead weeds at the stone’s end
comes right near to his hand as i exclaim in worry
he says something and carelessly tosses it to the side with one hand as he leaps to the next stone
i’m on the right hand side of the stone
sitting in the grass near the treeline
and the snake advances sideways
at the exact speed it needs to
to get to me before
i can sit up

it stares with one eye facing me and will bite me

wake up
afraid of your feet being too near the edge of the bed

or outside of the covers.

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