What I Mean When I Say Truck Driver

by Geffrey Davis
Davis. Revising the Storm. What I Mean When I Say Truck Driver
During the last 50 miles back from haul & some months past my 15th birthday, my father fishes a stuffed polar bear from a Salvation Army gift-bin, labeled Boys: 6-10. I can almost see him approach the decision: cold, a little hungry, not enough money in his pocket for coffee. He worries he might fall asleep behind the wheel as his giant, clumsy love for that small word—son—guides his gaze to the crudely-sewn fabric of the miniature bear down at the bottom of the barrel. Seasons have flared & gone out with little change in his fear of stopping for too long in any city, where he knows the addict in him waits, patient as a desert bloom. Meanwhile, me: his eldest child, the uneasy guardian of the house. In his absence, I've not yet lost my virginity, but I've had fist-fights with grown men & seen my mother dragging her religious beliefs to the bitter border of divorce. For years my father's had trouble saying no to crack-cocaine & women flowered in cheap summer dresses. Watch his face as he arrives at last & stretches the toy out, my mother fixed on the porch behind me, the word son suddenly heavy in my father's mouth, his gray coat gathered around his shoulders: he's never looked so small. We could crush him—we hug him instead.