Where Were Our Dads in the Summer of '92?

Evan Gill Smith

Our dads were interviewing for desk jobs
in cut-off shorts

They were at other kids’ Little League games
casting hexes

And on crowded beaches they took swings at any seagulls
who dared to snatch at family-sized bags of Doritos

Our dads were driving through deserts
in search of wild peyote

They wandered, vastly confused,
in over-lit grocery stores

And watched young couples eat
through restaurant windows

Our dads memorized the facial tics
of Diane Keaton

They scratched tax advice into the walls
of shabby barns

Sprinkled their beard trimmings
in the police commissioner’s pool

And drank Peppermint Schnapps
in haunted houses

They were humming the James Bond theme
while waiting for a manager to open the front door
of a local Wendy’s

The pale morning pink peeked beneath the red braids of Wendy,
a fictional character, a daughter, painted on
the plate-glass window

Our dads were there to see that light
and they were adjusting their crumpled fedoras

Our dads were being jealous
of big houses

They were scolding drivers
for not using their blinkers

And they yammered on and on
about the plight of the modern American farmer

Our dads were smoking weed
by the municipal pool

They were at the racetrack, twisting programs in their fists,
but there were no races

And they tucked innocuous bootknives
in the sides of their tube socks

The bootknives slid down our dads’ tube socks,
again and again

Our dads were picking the neighbor’s tulips
in the middle of the night

And highlighting passages
from old high school yearbooks

They made tombstone rubbings
of dead dads they once knew

And hit on a woman they thought was Halle Berry
at an airport bar

Our dads were flexing their triceps
in full-length mirrors

They were practicing cooing

They were harmonizing,
all of them, everywhere, altogether

They were peeing on the wind