dad clambers into my passenger seat
right as i’m about to leave. he wants
to survey my tail light
as i click the turn signal,
about getting my tires fixed
before the big move,
those tired black flats
breathing nearly out of their husks.
i think about how love is checking,
checking in again
even when nothing is wrong.
how loving someone is
on my parents’ anniversary card
i write congrats on 26 years
and i think of what a large child
that could be, still unsure,
with tears always threatening
their brims. then i walk to the garden
to call you, and when your small
black-white voice finally blinks back,
i let out a breath large enough
for the trees to stand a little taller, i swear,
i swear it, for the yellow blooms to sigh open.
i’m just checking in, i type back.
watching me pull away, dad waits in the street,
silhouetted by my tail light,
which burns a sure red.