Truck Picture, 1962

by Roy Bentley

Some love is like an aperture—
hearts open and close, allow the lens
of self and memory-film to take the light
at different intensities. It's still love.

My father is smiling. There's a sign on the side
of a '57 Ford Ranchero truck reading Roy's Shell.
An address and phone number in red-lettered script.
He's at the wheel, window down. My sister Suzanne
calls attention to a shadow, a vertical-running line.
As from tape. As if the negative was ripped. Torn.

And I remember blood flowing from his face after
she struck him; that time, for bringing a woman
along. They were divorcing but would remarry.
That night, he was stopping by to drop me off.
That weekend, my sisters hadn't gone with him.
I recall that he opened my door. Said, "Hurry!"

I'm sure the woman was sitting next to him.
I'm sure she was difficult to get to because
my mother tried to reach across me to hit her
and hit me. I come from those who strike first,
which is to say, my mother did. Her mother,
my granny, absorbed a blow. Cried and cried.

The violence of desire is understandable but tough
to do much about, if you're a kid. I see my father
tearing out of the driveway, sparks arcing up
from underneath the Ranchero, rooster-tailing
into an Ohio night I enter again and again,
trying to frame and snap a picture I trust.

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