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a car came in the field
a distance from us
that Sunday afternoon

it was years ago
during the Depression,
mama had made a picnic;

we laughed and looked at the sky
and we ganged up on my father
and tickled him till

we all turned over;
we told stories we had
never told before

about imaginary places where
there was no hunger and
no sorrow.

then, the car across the way
tried to start up,
and my father went

to see what was wrong.
they had run out of gas.
and my father siphoned gas

from his tank to theirs.
he didn’t know them.
they were in trouble and afraid.

their car started up and as they
said good-bye, my father put a
half-dollar in the man’s hand

and I weep every time
I think
of that,

my father worked
so hard and had
so little



Dad & 5-year-old April, 1973
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