Ode to cigarettes
and Mountain Dew. 

Ode to lottery tickets. 

Ode to secret handshakes
and secret phone calls
asking for help. 

I’ve always
admired your
attitude. Feared 
your funny way 
of flipping off 
the man who cut 
in line.

Ode to the fishing boat 
you still believe in. Miracles
kept themselves from you. 

Your hands
are not marred 
by hook and sinker,
but by paint,
cardboard, tape. 

Back broken
by the burden 
of dependence–
you worked hard
for your recovery. 

Ode to moving out.
Ode to sweat. 

Ode to new walls
stained by smoke. 

You are a man
who leaves a mark.
He’d be proud of you. 

Ode to you, brother,
for laughing at odes
but believing in the one 
who writes them.