In 1976, the day after
the Bicentennial Parade,
my mother gives me a 
stamp collecting kit
and a pack of plastic dolls.
I sit and lick.
Ride my bike. Split.
Around the corner
a familiar face on the block,
lately matriculates,
drives green muscle car,
says, Hey baby, wanna buy some coke?

I don’t hate you for it
or the way my father finds you
and tells your mother.
My father doesn’t hate anything either
until I say, No big deal.
Then, there, back against the wall,
the anatomy of a bike tire inner tube,
the position to get in when falling,
how to whip a taunt with a word.
Mother’s hands had to smooth
down the chips,
There, there, on my shoulders.