by David Armand

Every weekend my father sat
on the sofa all day watching
movies like Lethal Weapon,
Platoon, Lonesome Dove,
Tombstone, and all five Rockys

               His favorite one
was The Abyss with Ed Harris
and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio
and sometimes he'd watch it—
rewind the tape he'd rented
from the John's Curb Market,
which was down the road in Folsom
and where he also bought
cigarettes, beer, and once or twice
a Slush Puppy for my brother and me—
and then he'd watch it again.

You could hear the old VCR
humming and clicking
all the way from our room
at the other end of the trailer
as my father rewound the tape
and watched that movie about
underwater oil rig workers
who encounter an alien species
while trying to help disarm
a nuclear warhead on a submarine,
all while a vicious hurricane spins
above the surface of the ocean.

He'd drink can after can of Bud
and smoke Marlboro reds,
flecking the old coffee table—
which was made out of a hatch
door from a boat he'd once owned—
with gray ashes.

               Times when the batteries
in the remote controller stopped working,
he'd yell for my brother or me to come
into the den to change the channel for him
or turn up the sound, fast forward the previews
for the upcoming features he didn't care about.
“Oh, boys,” he'd yell. “Get your asses in here.”
We always thought we were in trouble at first,
but then we'd get to the den and he'd just tell
us what to do. It was embarrassing for everyone.

Other times when we had to walk past him
to get in the kitchen for something to eat,
we always ducked beneath the TV screen
so we wouldn't get in his way, but even still
he'd pop up from his spot on the sofa,
unpredictably and without warning sometimes,
and he'd yell, “What the fuck are you looking
at, son? You want to fight? Huh? You think
you can whip my ass?”

               "No,” we'd say back,
softly, like stepping over a rat trap, or holding
a loaded shotgun, keeping it pointed at the sky
so if it accidentally went off, it wouldn't kill anyone.
We never bothered mentioning that we hadn't looked
at him at all, had purposely kept our eyes on our feet.

We'd just keep moving, hoping he wouldn't follow,
that he'd just sit back down and leave us alone
and watch his damn movies like we didn't even exist.


Category: Poetry, SNHU Creative Writing, SNHU online creative writing