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Daddy Fights at Sunset

Ti Kendrick Randall

A denim-clad leg,
sometimes a bare arm, pokes
through a forced door opening. Bare
feet caught once or twice. Her leisure
suit left unzipped for time.
This is the first fight I ever witness.

My father, sweaty, lifts her into the hall-fight
still in her. The apartment, a sonic orb
of vibration. I have little
emotional connection to that summer
without my mother. Did I also cry?
Did my brother? I can't

see. Trophies: photos. In one, my brother
and I sat at the kitchen table,
an orange-frosted birthday
cake before us. Homemade
by my father, orange zest
in cake and icing sticks
to the roof of my mouth. Hated. Smile
for the camera. I wave.

Hi Daddy.

We drive in silence.
The nurse calls for him and I
follow with his black, woven fedora
in my left hand and a baggie
of medications in my right. Notepad
and pen under my arm. Hands
full when he falters; tired
in ten paces, leading
with his left shoulder

into the wall. I talk
with his doctors. Daddy watches
while I write. We visit
the physical therapist, the nutritionist,
the gastroenterologist, the urologist,
the podiatrist, and the primary care physician.
He is no longer strong.

There are no miracles in pill bottles; yet,
we count them daily.
I see this fight, too.

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